Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bold Predictions for 2010

Time for the annual "Bold Predictions" for 2010.

--The Senate and the House will approve a Health Care Reform Bill that will not include a Public Option Plan. Everyone will complain its a terrible bill--but Democrats will pass it anyway--blaming Republicans for "obstructing real progress on reform".

--Capping off an amazing year end turnaround, the Dallas Cowboys will defeat the San Diego Chargers in the Super Bowl. The game will be marred by a continuous stream of semi-talented female country singers and starletts trying to carry away Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

--Brett Favre will not announce a retirement this year. Instead, he will demand the Vikings make him Player/Coach to avoid further "heated discussions"on the sideline. Adrian Peterson will immediately demand a trade to a team where the quarterback won't keep audibling out of all his running plays.

--"Cobblestoners" will continue to enjoy success in local elections. Oshkosh voters will again send the message that basic, core services are what they want from City Hall. The School Board will see more members that support "rightsizing" the number of schools and teachers needed to serve our kids.

--Tiger Woods will win the British Open. He will be hailed as a "hero" for "overcoming all the challenges that beseiged him last year."

--The Oshkosh Corporation will be re-awarded the three-billion dollar FMTV contract--but production will be further delayed by federal lawsuits filed by the other "sore loser" bidders.

--Harley-Davidson--crippled by the continued recession--will exercise the same power play used by Mercury Marine in 2009--demanding huge incentives packages and employee concessions to keep production in Milwaukee. Workers and lawmakers will capitulate.

--Speaking of the recession, it will remain strong--fueled in 2010 by an increase in commercial real estate foreclosures and the continued lack of credit-worthiness of most Americans.

--President Obama will continue to blame George Bush for all problems--financial, social and international.

--Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will all resign under pressure or will be fired.

--The Milwaukee Brewers will return to the playoffs. They will be the only team in the National League Central to finish above .500.

--The November elections will be a total disaster for Democrats at all levels. This will lead to an accelerated Kamikaze effort to pass as many new entitlement programs and as much social legislation as they can get through before sanity returns to government.

--Glenn Beck will come on the air naked and screaming about implants in his brain put there by operatives from the Obama Administration. He will immediately become the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

Happy New Year everybody. 2010 couldn't be any worse than 2009.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Festivus Airing of Grievances

Happy Festivus everyone. As is the time honored tradition established by Frank Costanza many years ago, it is time for the Airing of Grievances!! And as usual, I HAVE A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH YOU PEOPLE!!!!!!!









To anyone who bought a "Snuggie": YOU LOOK LIKE IDIOTS!!




Now it is time for the FEATS OF STRENGTH. Remember, Festivus isn't over until you pin me to the ground.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What's Wrong With Going Undefeated?

Do you know of any sport beside the NFL where teams are encouraged to lose a game? I'm not talking about throwing a game--but rather just not trying as hard as possible to win?

I ask this following another week of debate on the sports networks and talk radio about what the undefeated Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints should do over the last three weeks of the season--play their starters and try to win--or rest everyone and increase the possibility of losing. The majority of "experts" and talking heads support sitting the stars--going undefeated isn't worth the risk of injury they say. A few think both teams should go all out to go undefeated.

As someone who has played organized sports my entire life, I cannot fathom the idea of not trying to win everytime you step on the field, the court or the course. And I would hope that inside each of the high-paid players on the Colts and the Saints they feel the same way. You're just as likely to get hurt at 8-5 as you are at 13-0.

The "don't try to go undefeated" attitude is really present only in the NFL--which is ironic since it is the only league that charges regular season prices for its pre-season games--in effect telling fans that contests played by a bunch of guys who will be driving forklifts a few days after the games are just as important as the must-win showdown in week 17. I think that if the Colts or Saints decide they aren't going to try to win a game this season they should be required to let the fans know--so they can ask for their money back.

Obviously, the Colts didn't go for that "rest your starters" junk last night--beating the Jaguars 35-31 in a game where Peyton Manning could have spent the entire second half on the bench. I'm guessing Drew Brees will be playing the entire game Saturday night--lighting up my Dallas Cowboys.

So don't be afraid to go undefeated, teams. Remember, it's the only way you can guarantee a championship. Unless of course you are a college football team dealing with the BCS--look at how going undefeated is working out for TCU, Boise State and Cincinnati.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Notebook

I have this notebook at home that I use for my family budget. It's nothing fancy really, just a steno pad with a red line down the center of the page, allowing me to put expenses on the left side and income on the right. I have personal finance software that I use to track spending and saving--but there is something cathartic about taking the time to write down on paper where all of the money my wife and I bring in goes each month. The pages are just the right size to get two months on each side--meaning my current page goes out to March.

Is it boring to have your life planned out like that? Sure. But it is also incredibly reassuring to know that everything is taken care of--and that cash is available in case something totally unforeseen comes up.

What I wonder is how many other people have a notebook at home? Did President Obama ever have a budget notebook? Did he ever sit down every day or every few days to plot the course of his finances? And passing that off to Michelle because he was too busy "organizing neighborhoods" doesn't count. Does Timothy Geithner track his own budget? Could he tell us how much is in his checking or savings account at any moment? I doubt they can--or else they wouldn't be telling us that we can "spend our way out of this recession." Would it surprise you to learn that only eight percent of those working at high levels of the Obama Administration have actually worked in the private sector? Just eight percent have experience balancing budgets that are not funded by taxpayers--and don't have that bottomless (they believe) pit from which to draw upon for more money.

How about Senator Harry Reid, Congressman Steve Kagen or any of the other lawmakers who tell us that we "can't afford not to have a public health care plan"? What do their notebooks look like? I can actually see Jim Doyle having a notebook at one time--but losing it years ago based on his current budgeting practices. And how many of our local leaders or school administrators have their personal finances in tight order? Finding places to cut in big public budgets is a lot easier if you have practice at home with finances that affect you directly.

I would love to give everyone I've mentioned in this "Two Cents" a notebook for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or Festivus--but I'm afraid my notebook tells me there isn't that much money left in the "gift fund".

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Not to Defend the BCS..........

I like to watch all the afternoon sports debate shows on ESPN every day. As you might expect, yesterday was dominated by talk of the BCS and what a travesty it is that five undefeated college football teams don't get to decide the National Championship on the field. While the talking heads were more than happy to take shots at University and College Presidents for being "greedy" no one had the cajones to point to the real reason we don't have a playoff in major college football--women.

No, there is not a women's group secretly pulling strings at the NCAA preventing all efforts to have a playoff. I am talking about Title IX of the US Justice Code--which requires "equal educational opportunities for both sexes." In college sports, Title IX means that the number of scholarships offered to female athletes must match the percentage of female students enrolled at the school. If you have a 55-percent female population, 55-percent of the scholarships must go to women. This places a huge strain on men's football to carry the entire athletic department at most Division I universities and colleges.

That is the reason Wisconsin plays home games against Wofford or The Citadel every year--another opportunity to put 85-thousand people into $50 dollar seats at Camp Randall Stadium. It's also why Wisconsin has a women's softball team--but not a men's baseball team. I was going to school there at the time that baseball--along with men's gymnastics was dropped due to budget concerns--and let me tell you, it was not pretty.

The reason we the BCS and the 39-other bowl games is really dollars and cents. Until the NCAA can guarantee the schools as much money from a playoff system as the current setup generates, there will never be a playoff.

Now, I am certainly not calling for the dissolution of Title IX. I'm sure that if I ever have a daughter I will want as many opportunities for her as possible. And let's be honest here--women's hockey is never going to come close to breaking even at any college. But let's at least acknowledge why the major schools are trying to milk as much money as they can from their biggest cash cow.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Attention Shoppers!!

As I write this "My Two Cents" the cars are streaming into the adjoining Wal-Mart parking lot--as shoppers begin to line up for "Black Friday Doorbuster Deals".

I find it ironic that many of those people struggle to get out of bed at 7:30 to make it to work by 9:00 every day--but somehow, they find the inner strength to be up at 3:30 this morning--just so they don't miss out on that $70 Blu-Ray Disc Player. Shoppers who take the elevator to go up one floor at any multi-story building today are literally sprinting to the electronics department to get that $60 GPS unit.

Of course, all of this is done in the spirit of "giving". Aren't we better people the more we spend on gifts for others? Isn't that the truest sign of love?

Why then don't we see such enthusiasm and determination when it comes to giving of ourselves? Why does the Salvation Army struggle to fill all the time slots for its bellringers at the red kettles? Why are food pantries dealing with bare shelves when more people than ever are in need? When you really think about it, doesn't a family of five with two unemployed parents need a few boxes of pasta and maybe some canned fruits and vegetables more than your son needs the latest version of World of Warcraft for X-box?

Which Christmas do you think your family will remember more: the year they got an iPod that was replaced two years later by a different model or the year the whole family helped out at the free Christmas dinner for the poor?

Just something to think about as you ponder the "Spirit of the Season."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks

I have plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Of course there is my beautiful wife--who has had to put up with more than her fair share of crap to stay married to me. I appreciate the sacrifices that she has made.

I still have both of my parents and one of my grandparents--along with lots of other family members who are a part of my life.

I have a number of friends that make my life fun.

I'm in great health and continue to avoid serious injury playing all of my sports.

I have a job that I enjoy and that gives me a sense of satisfaction. A real bonus in these economic times.

I am not in over my head in debt--owing only on my house. We also have savings in place for emergencies and to pay cash for our adoption (or a new car in case that comes first).

I live in a safe city with plenty of opportunities for recreation, shopping, dining and entertainment.

I can still drive my beloved Jeep Wrangler--even though it's not fuel-efficient, it's not zero-emissions and it definitely is not a "clunker".

I live in a country where dissent of the government is not only tolerated--but is openly encouraged and celebrated. And don't forget the wonderful Constitution that guarantees me the right to express myself and protects me from govenment infringement on my personal freedoms (for now anyway).

I can still eat and drink whatever I want (for now anyway).

I enjoy cleaner air, water and land than my parents or their parents ever did.

I can finally enjoy The Beatles in their full sonic glory, courtesy of the re-mastered CD's.

I have soldiers, police officers and spies working to protect all of the freedoms and security that I hold so dear. A big thanks to all of those people--despite the waffling of those elected to preserve those liberties.

And of course a big "Thank You" to all our listeners. I hope you all take time to consider all the things for which you are thankful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Living Like No One Else

We've carried the Dave Ramsey show here on WOSH for more than three years now--and for the first time Financial Peace University is coming to Oshkosh. My thanks to Community Church for bringing the program to the area--and making it open to people outside of their church.

For those not familiar, FPU is a 13-week course--held one night a week--to teach you the Dave Ramsey approach to a Total Money Makeover. Getting out of debt, learning how to save money for emergencies, how to shop with cash, how to save for retirement and how to get the rest of your financial house in order are all covered in the program. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Instead, it's about a long-range plan to achieve financial security not only for you--but for your kids and their kids as well.

The cost is just over $100--which covers the program materials--books, dvd's, cd's and worksheets that you get to keep. Community Church will not make any money on FPU. I will be one of the volunteer group facilitators--sharing our personal stories of getting out debt and changing our financial course--and also leading some group activities. Believe me, if my wife and I can find success in this program so will you.

So I hope that you will consider enrolling in the Financial Peace University course when it comes to Oshkosh early next year. Go to our website to register--and encourage your family and friends to attend as well. The more people we can get into the program and in control of their money the less we will need to depend on Big Brother to provide our mortgage payments, health care, and retirement benefits. Think of it as change that won't bankrupt us.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Bunch of BCS

I don't know about you, but I can't wait for the college football playoffs this year. We could have as many as five undefeated teams in the field--and some really good one-loss teams as well.

I finally had a chance to see TCU play a game over the weekend and I can see them easily knocking off a couple of the "Big Boys" and making it to the Final Four. The same for Boise State--who finally might get a home game against a major conference foe in the first round on their "Smurf Turf"--since nobody has the guts to go there to play them in the regular season.

It also looks like those pointless "money grabs" called Conference Championship Games will be moot points as well again this year--since Florida and Alabama are already locks to make the field from the SEC--as is Texas from the Big 12.

The real excitement of course comes in who will get those at-large bids? Is the Badgers late-season surge to second place in the Big Ten good enough to get them into the field of 16? I know I'll be in front of the TV on Selection Saturday to see if they get a bid. Then of course, the week after that is taken up by filling out multiple brackets--trying to whittle down the field to the two teams that will make it to the Championship Game the Sunday before the Super Bowl. They don't call it "Winter Madness" for nothing!!

Um, what's that? There is no college football playoff? Oh yeah, that's right. Polls and computers decide who plays for the "National Championship" in the Football Bowl Subdivision. That means no Cinderella run for an underdog team. No chance for the non-power conference champions to win the big prize--and this year, as many as four undefeated teams all with a legitimate claim to being "Number One".

Let's hope this is finally the cluster**** that gets the NCAA off its big fat wallet and dumps the Bowl system. We the fans have had enough of this BCS--I mean BS.

Monday, November 16, 2009

163 Miles

163 miles. That is the distance from Oshkosh to Thomson, Illinois.

Why should we care about how far it is to a sleepy town along the Mississippi River that houses a currently-vacant Supermax Prison? Because that is where the Obama administration is considering moving some of the detainees from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. That would put some of the most dangerous people on the planet less than three hours driving time away from your house. Currently, those men are 1,827-miles away--and would have to fight their way out of one of the most heavily-armed military installations in the world--surrounded by open ocean with no direct flights to the mainland US.

163-miles. That would be all that seperates us from men who would think nothing about killing anyone of us. A local official who supports using the prison to house terror suspects and enemy combatants says "they can't really be that different than a murderer." Your average convicted murderer has killed one person--usually someone they targeted specifically. The men that would be housed in Thomson couldn't care less who they kill. Their weapon would not be a handgun or a knife--they would use a moving truck loaded with explosives and nails and ball-bearings in an effort to kill or maim as many people as possible.

163-miles. The distance from a new magnet for every other terrorist and muslim extremist--who would all love to free their "brothers-in-arms"--or to die trying. They wouldn't want to set up camp right in Thomson--that would attract too much attention--but a city just three or four hours away? That might be a nice place to plot and train.

163-miles. President Obama never used that distance to describe how close he would bring Gitmo detainees when he talked about closing the prison during his campaign. Did he think that might turn off voters in key states like Wisconsin and Iowa--to know that professional killers and bombers would be seperated from them by just chainlink fence and barbed wired? Of course, where else would you expect the President to use the "Chicago Way" to get what he wants? You think any Democratic state official in Illinois is going to say "boo" to this plan? Hopefully, the administration uses stimulus dollars to fund the prison upgrade and hire the para-military trained guards--so at least a thousand jobs will actually be "created" for a change.

163-miles. Doesn't sound that far does it? Of course that is much better than the 0-miles that New Yorkers will enjoy between themselves and the men that helped to carry out the 9-11 attacks as they await trial in Federal Court. Suddenly, I feel much safer already.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

On the Road A Lot

As high school football teams travel all over the state this week for the playoffs, I'm going to let you in on a story that has been greatly under-reported: Fans should get used to longer road trips in the future.

The WIAA is looking to re-draw conferences throughout the state--doing away regional groupings and moving toward having everyone play schools the same size. That would unfortunately mean the end of the Fox Valley Association for football.

Under the current version of the plan, the state would be divided into eight sections--with eight classes of schools based on enrollment. There would be eight Division One teams, eight Division Two teams, etc. per section. Schools would play seven "conference" games and two "non-conference" games--with the top four teams in each section automatically making the playoffs--regardless of record.

Thanks to a concentration of bigger schools on the north end of the Fox Valley, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac would be assigned to a district with Manitowoc, the two Sheboygan schools, Neenah and Hartford. According to an on-line calculator, the switch would double the average distance Oshkosh teams would have to travel for all their conference games. Kimberly and Menasha would get grouped with schools in the Green Bay suburbs and Plymouth--also seeing their travel distances double. The Appleton schools would get paired with the Green Bay city schools--and Wisconsin Rapids--which has few other Division One schools near it.

Omro would be the biggest loser in the new alignment--as their average travel distance for conference games would be 60-miles--with a nice 113-mile trip to Marshfield in there. One school that would win big time would be Oshkosh Lourdes--as their travel would be cut by a third--with a grouping that includes Laconia, St Mary's Springs and Markesan.

Sectional groupings would also change as school enrollments fluctuate over the years. It's entirely possible that Oshkosh North could fall to a D-2 classification--meaning they wouldn't be in the same conference as West--although the teams could schedule a "non-conference" game. And that classification could change several times--meaning North would face a different slate of opponents every year--making it difficult to develop or maintain the rivalries that kids and fans love.

Right now, the re-districting plan applies only to football. I guess the WIAA realizes a trip to Manitowoc from Oshkosh on a February school night in a snowstorm might not be the best for basketball teams--but they could always change their mind in the future. Normally, I would encourage you to send letters or e-mails to protest this change--but having to deal with the WIAA, I know they don't give a rat's behind what people other than fellow WIAA executives think. So add a little bit more to the gas budget, fans--and get ready for that big trip to Hartford.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Where Are All the Quarterbacks?

Bob and I were having a conversation on the air the other day about how we can't remember a time when there were so many bad teams in the NFL. When so many teams went out there on Sunday with no real chance to win--unless they were playing another pathetic team. We came to the realization that the root of the problem is the lack of talented quarterbacks in the league.

Right now, I would say there are only four "elite" quarterbacks in the NFL--guys who give their teams a chance to win every Sunday. They are: Peyton Manning (the current King of All Quarterbacks), Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. That's it, just four guys with Hall of Fame talent playing right now.

They are followed by the "Second Tier Guys"--the quarterbacks that on good days can lift their teams to victory single-handedly, but still have a few too many "stinker games" to be considered elite. They would be: Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan, Phillip Rivers, Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer, Kyle Orton and the walking dinosaurs Brett Favre and Kurt Warner.

In the "Good but overrated" category you have Tony Romo and Donovan McNabb (there goes my chance of owning an NFL team!)--who run about 50-50 on their quality performances.

If we stop at the second tier guys, you have just 14-quality quarterback in a league of 32 teams. And those just happen to be the 14-teams competing for the 12 playoff spots. Not even half the teams have QB's that even give them a chance to win a game. When I was a kid in the late 70's and early 80's--you would have had no trouble naming all 28 quarterbacks in the league. Even the worst franchises like the New Orleans Saints had guys like Archie Manning and Kenny Stabler at QB. The Packers played the St Louis Rams (who have lost an entire season's worth of games in a row--16) just a few weeks ago--can you remember who was their quarterback? And this week the Packers get the Browns--whose Derek Anderson this month completed just 2 of 17 passes in a game--AND STILL WON OVER BUFFALO!!

I get a kick out of how the NFL analysts are going crazy over the Miami Dolphins running the "Wildcat Offense" with the direct snap to the running back--like the old single-wing days. They like to call it a "work of genius". I think its an act of desperation--a white flag if you will--saying "my offense actually runs better if I don't even have a quarterback involved in the play." The fact that I see some colleges and even high school programs running the "Wildcat" now says to me the quarterbacking situation in the NFL isn't going to get better any time soon. Enjoy those five interception afternoon fans!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What to Do With the Juggalos

I have a few suggestions for "fixing" the problem of the Juggalos in downtown Oshkosh. For those of you not familiar with the group--it's basically a bunch of kids who hang out, skate and sometimes harass people in Opera House Square. They take their name from fans of quite possibly the worst rap group of all time The Insane Clown Posse. Downtown business owners want the group gone--saying they scare off customers.

My first suggestion is to adopt an approach used in Europe and Australia when local governments wanted to disperse the riff-raff--pipe in music nobody can stand. In England they used classical music. In Australia, one town blasted Barry Manilow into high crime areas. Given that the kids hang out in OPERA House Square--that would be the obvious choice for Oshkosh. But I think some of the worst oldies and country songs of all time would be better. We could start by repeating "Loving You" by Minnie Ripperton and following that up with an hour's worth of "Achy Breaky Heart" by Miley Cyrus' dad.

If that doesn't work, we'll make Opera House Square the "Popular Place to Hang Out". The Juggalos like to pass themselves off as the "social misfits" who don't do what the "cool kids" do. So let's infiltrate their ranks with the very people they want to avoid. Create a wi-fi hotspot in Opera House Square so kids with laptops and Blackberries can log on for free and tweet each other from three feet away. Set up sidewalk espresso carts. Host skateboarding contests with temporary half-pipes set up in the Square. Of put out Nintendo Wii Systems for people to use for free on Tuesday nights.

Or we could have Oshkosh Police find out who these kids are and call their parents. You know, just ask them "Hey, do you know where your kids are and what they are doing right now?" How many parents will say "Yeah, hanging out downtown and harassing people"? Let's be honest, that is where the Juggalos problem starts--and where it needs to be solved. The Business Improvement District can complain all it wants--and the Common Council can pass all the ordinances it wants--but until parents give a darn about what their teenagers are doing, it won't fix a thing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

You're Welcome

The good folks of the Fox Valley and Northeast Wisconsin won't have to worry about any early season major snowfalls this winter. I don't have any special meteorological insight--and it has nothing to do with "global warming". I know there won't be any major early snowstorms this year because I have a snowthrower that actually works.

You may recall the mild winters we had in the early part of the decade. Well, during that time I was a renter--not responsible for snow removal--so it really didn't matter how much it snowed, or how often it snowed. But, two years ago my wife and I bought a house--meaning it was now my job to clear the driveway and the sidewalk. At the time of the purchase, I scoffed at my wife's suggestion that we buy a snowblower. I told her the driveway was short enough that it wouldn't be worth the cost--and besides, we haven't had a bad winter in years thanks to "global warming".

Of course, we had a major storm the weekend before Thanksgiving that year--with that kind of wet, heavy snow that just busts your back trying to shovel it. We had to have the neighbors come in with their snowthrowers just to get out of our driveway. That storm was followed by several more feet of snow--all before the holidays. Once it became phyically impossible to throw the snow over the piles along the driveway by hand, I broke down and admitted we needed a snowblower. After making that purchase, I used it just three more times the rest of the winter--when I could have used it about ten times before buying it.

So then comes last winter. I figured I was set, because I had the snowthrower in the garage--warding off big storms like it had done the year before. But, I had made a fatal mistake--I hadn't made sure it would run. Again we got a big early snowfall before Thanksgiving--and I couldn't get the darn thing to start. The same thing happened storm after storm in November and December as we set record snowfall totals for those months. Finally, I got a repair man out there (twice) to finally get the thing running again around the holidays. Just like the year before, I only needed to use it a handful of times after that.

That is why I spent all afternoon yesterday making sure the 'thrower runs, the auger turns and that all the important parts are lubricated. And that is why I am so sure that there will be no major storms early this year--if there will be any at all--just because I'm ready for them...for a change.

You're welcome.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Let It Go

I cannot wait until Wednesday. There's no special anniversary or event scheduled for that day--it's just the day that I think I might finally not have to hear about Brett Favre versus the Green Bay Packers ad nauseum. I spent the weekend in the Twin Cities and I can tell you that the hype machine over there is set to SUPER HIGH as every talk show (not just sports-talk) is nothing but Brett facing his old team.

The conversation, however, is anything but "we love Brett". It sounded to me like many of the reporters who cover the Vikings have already grown tired of the soap opera "As the Brett Favre Turns". Last week's win on a last-second pass is best remembered by most people not for the unbelievable catch by a guy who signed with the team the week before the game--but instead for Favre laying on the Humpty Dump turf until someone came to pick him up because he was so "exhausted". Three different hosts on three different stations called Favre a "drama queen" this weekend. It took them just three weeks to realize something that it took Packers fans 14-years to figure out.

The general belief among the Minnesota press--and the way it sounded from the call-ins, the fans as well--is that Favre is pretty much running his own show with the Vikings. Right now, winning games (pretty much without the need for a lot of "gunslinging") is covering up a lot of the animosity within the organization. But every Purple Fan is dreading that two game losing streak--which will likely be caused by a half-dozen interceptions--that will completely torpedo a promising season. So Packers fans living in fear of Number Four bringing a Lombardi Trophy to the Twin Cities can probably rest easy--it ain't gonna happen.

As for tonight's game, it won't be Favre that sticks "The Dagger!!" into the Pack--it will be Adrian Peterson running for almost 300-yards that gets Minnesota the win. Then on Thursday, we can start breaking down that first Favre game at Lambeau on November 1st.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Dousing the Flame

As much as I love sports, I would actually prefer that Chicago NOT get the 2016 Olympics. The reason is simple: it will just be a huge waste of money.

There is no city more known for graft and corruption than Chicago--and the huge contracts that would be handed out for construction of Olympic venues are prime sources for every crony of Mayor Richard M. Daley to get his pocket lined. Make that pockets stuffed so full that many of them won't be able to walk. Whatever they estimate it will cost Chicago to host the Games, add 25-percent--then another ten percent for "unexpected overruns".

And the Olympics are not the "amazing sporting event" that people think it is. Tickets for the top events are reserved for International Olympic Committee members and their cronies--along with the corporate sponsors that have completely taken over the Games. The Olympics are an "amazing money-making event" for a select few. The actual focus on sports went out the window when Peter Ueberroth proved that you could make money by hosting in LA back in 1984. Unfortunately, the last few versions of the games haven't made money--and taxpayers in the hosts cities and countries have been left footing the bill. Cook County already has a 10.5 %sales tax--how high would it go if the Chicago Olympics lose a billion dollars or so?

Some think that Wisconsin will be getting plenty of benefit from the Games--namely people staying across the border and driving into the City for the events. But I have a sneaking suspicion that Governor Jim Doyle has somehow committed some of our tax dollars to help Illinois pay for this thing. Nobody gets anything for free anymore.

And think about all of the Olympic tie-in advertising. The "official refreshment beverage of the 2016 Chicago Games", "the official tire of the 2016 Chicago Games", "the official home building supplier of the 2016 Chicago Games". I'll have to make this the "Official Blogsite of the 2016 Chicago Games"

If the City of Chicago is going to spend all of the money necessary to build venues and an athlete's village--along with transit upgrades and all of the security necessary to prevent disaster--why not just spend the money anyway for the CTA and police--without having to put up with three weeks of hassle?

I would cast my vote for Rio, Brazil. South America has never hosted the Games--and it's their turn. Besides, except for baseball and hockey, sports is better on TV anyway.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Another Low Point

We have reached another low point in television history. This weekend, Saturday Night Live aired several utterances of the "F-word" during a sketch about biker women. We here in the central time zone heard it--whereas those in the mountain and pacific time zones had the word edited out when the show aired on tape delay.

I've said before that I am all for freedom of speech and artistic expression as protected under the First Amendment--but can't we try to keep it clean? To the actress involved--Jenny Slate (whom I have never heard of until this weekend)--the use of the word was probably second nature. She likely peppers her everyday conversations with the word--to the point where its as common as "the" or "like"--and as she recited her lines Saturday night, it just comfortably slipped right out. That is why I try to avoid using George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words" in casual conversation--because the more you say it off the air--the more likely you are to say it on the air.

And to hear the old "F-bomb" come from a woman on broadcast TV is no real surprise either. Having been on college campuses quite a bit--I can tell you that there are few people who can swear better than co-eds. Of course, they hear so much of it from college guys that you would think profanity is the official language of higher learning nowadays.

I'll be interested to see if the FCC comes down hard on NBC and levies the same kind of fine against them as they did CBS for Janet Jackson's staged "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl--which was just as artistically unnecessary and inappropriate as the SNL sketch. If the fine is big enough, maybe other networks will continue the already too low standards they currently have. But if NBC is allowed to skate on this, get ready for the "F-word" and more in Prime Time Television as well--because the actors and writers on every other show will be thinking "well if they get to say that--then we should be allowed to say that!"

Of course, if this incident is allowed to go without punishment, perhaps the networks can go back to truly "live" broadcasts of sports again--instead of the stupid seven-second delay meant to give censors a chance to bleep out profanity captured on the field or coming from Tiger Woods.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mind if I Smoke, Dude?

I will never understand marijuana smokers. I've never smoked pot in my life--never inhaled (which I guess disqualifies me from ever running as President as a Democrat)--so I have no idea what compels people to do it. I just bring it up because of two incidents over the weekend.

The first was Saturday night at the U2 concert in Chicago. Someone in our section decided they would light up during the show. We were downwind of this person--so the smoke kept wafting over us. All I could think about was how the odor might be sticking to my clothes and what people are going to think when they could smell it on me during the bus and train ride home after the show. "Did you smell that guy with the Wisconsin Badgers gear on?" they would say to one another. "He must have been totally baked."

I know I shouldn't be surprised that someone was smoking marijunana at a rock concert--but nearly everyone in our section was old. I mean thirty-five and up. Don't you eventually give up on the teenage rebellion of getting high and move on to more mature things--like seven dollar cups of beer? Can any of these middle-aged stoners tell me anything great they have done while high? Was the music somehow better after you lit up? It's time to give up the weed and join the rest of us at the adult table now.

I also am curious as to why at every Packers home game someone is arrested for possession of marijuana inside Lambeau Field. Pot at a concert I can sort of understand--but at a professional football game? I wonder what the game starts looking like after the second or third joint. Maybe the stress of a close pre-season game with the Cleveland Browns is too much for those fans to handle. And how do you think that you can get away with smoking that without anyone noticing? I guess it makes those six-dollar hot dogs taste better--as you eat three of them to "cure" the munchies.

The real problem lieswithin the pot culture itself. I've been at a court hearing where a witness on the stand got into an argument with an attorney about the legality of smoking marijuana. The man had witnessed a murder. The defense attorney asked him if he had been lighting up that night--and the witness admitted he had been. The attorney asked him if he knew that was illegal. The guy said smoking pot isn't illegal. The attorney said "It's not?"--to which the witness replied "Possession of pot is illegal--and selling pot is illegal--but smoking it isn't illegal." As you might expect in a room full of legal experts--the laughter was difficult to stifle.

So smoke 'em if you got 'em pothead--apparently you think it's legal and acceptable anywhere. Just don't do it anywhere around me, please.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Appreciate What You've Got

I hope Packers fans appreciate what they have in Lambeau Field. My wife and I visited Soldier Field over the weekend for the U2 concert and let me tell you I was less than impressed. Soldier Field was renovated just a few years after Lambeau--but the work done there was the exact opposite of what was done in Green Bay. Where Lambeau got a brand new atrium and facade--while maintaining the historic interior "bowl"--Soldier Field got a new interior squeezed inside the historic concrete colonades.

Having finally seen the place in person--I can tell you it stinks. To get to our seats, we had to climb a couple of narrow staircases outside the stadium with those "little" steps that are a real trip hazard. You may have heard that it looks like a spaceship landed inside the old stadium. Well I can tell you that is true--as the upper decks hang over the top of the concrete colonades clad in some kind of shiny metal finish that has nothing to do with the original design.

Inside, the design is even more ugly. All of the skyboxes are on the lake side of the stadium--with a huge upper deck on the other side--so there is no symmetry. Everything is "swoopy" and angled and totally disjointed--like different parts of the stadium were designed seperately from each other and then just fitted together like a Legos kit.

And did I mention that to park at the stadium it would have set us back 45-dollars. Yes, 45-dollars to park at the stadium. That would be why my wife took the train and the bus on Saturday.

There are some things that are better at Soldier Field. It's all individual seats--meaning the average-sized Packers fan isn't taking up half of your seat on the aluminum benches--and there are plenty of bathrooms all around the stadium. But I just don't see how Bears fans can feel excited about their home field--and I doubt that the remodeled Soldier Field will ever be considered a "classic" sports venue. Of course, Chicagoans already have Wrigley Field to remind them of what was great about the old-time sports experience (i.e.--no blasting rock music and commericals on the Jumbotron between innings).

That must be why there were so many vehicles with Illinois plates blowing past us on northbound Highway 41 Sunday afternoon. A trip to Lambeau must be a real treat for those who have to put up with that "Mistake on the Lake".

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bold Packer Predictions

It's time for everyone's favorite My Two Cents of the year--the one where I make my bold predictions for the upcoming Packers season. Last year, I thought the Packers were going to go 9-7 and make the Playoffs as a wild card. They ended up going 6-10 and not getting a whiff of the postseason. So you have to ask yourself Packers Fan: How optimistic do you want me to be?

The Pack kicks off the season with a Sunday Nighter at home against the Bears. Chicago thinks they have a real quarterback for the first time since Sid Luckman with Jay Cutler. He probably won't have alienated his coaches and fellow players in Week One--but I'm still going with the Packers to take a tough one at Lambeau.

In week Two, the pathetic Cincinnati Bengals come to Green Bay. Chad Ochocinco is promising a record year for receptions and touchdowns--but the Packers secondary shuts him down (and shuts him up) as the Green and Gold move to 2-0.

Green Bay giddiness reaches a crescendo as the Packers travel to Saint Louis in week three to face the even more pathetic Rams. Three and oh for the Pack as fans start booking their Super Bowl hotels.

AND THEN COME WEEK FOUR: ARMAGEDDON WEEK!!!!! AS THE PACKERS FACE THEIR WORST NIGHTMARE: BRETT FAVRE IN A MINNESOTA VIKINGS UNIFORM ON MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL IN THE HUMPTY DUMP!!!!! The real star will turn out to be Adrian Peterson as he gashes the Packers' D for 200-yards rushing and Vikings get the win.

After a bye week, the Packers get back on the winning track, crushing the pathetic Lions at Lambeau to move to 4-1.

Make it 5-1 the next week--as the Packers go on the road to beat the pathetic Cleveland Browns (nice schedule this year Green Bay). Five and one and fan hopes are riding high again.

AND THEN COMES WEEK EIGHT: ARMAGEDDON WEEK TWO!!! AS THE PACKERS FACE THEIR WORST NIGHTMARE: BRETT FAVRE IN A MINNESOTA VIKINGS UNIFORM IN LAMBEAU FIELD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This time, in a poetic turn of justice, the Packers return a Favre interception for a touchdown in overtime to pull out the win--and to draw even with the Vikes for first in the division.

Then comes the trap game. After an emotion win at home over the Minnesota Favre's, the Pack travels to Tampa Bay. Despite the letdown, I think Green Bay guts out a win to move to 7-1.

In week ten the Packers will host America's Team--the Dallas Cowboys. C'mon, you really think I'm going to pick against my Boys?

Aaron Rodgers and company get back on the winning track the next week, beating the pathetic San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau to get to 9-2.

Thanksgiving Day is saved by a comeback win over the pathetic Detroit Lions. Turducken for everyone!!

Despite two interceptions by former Badger Jimmy Leonhard, the Packers beat the Baltimore Ravens at Lambeau to improve to 11-2. Super Bowl talk is all you hear at work and on the radio.

Reality strikes again in Week 14--as the Defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers crush the Pack on the road. Super Bowl talk in Green Bay comes to a grinding halt.

Restart that bandwagon as the Packers crush the pathetic Seattle Seahawks in week 16.

The season will wrap up with an easy win over the pathetic Arizona Cardinals in week 17. The Green and Gold finish the regular season at 13-3--but amazingly don't win the NFC Central--finishing a game behind the Minnesota Favres (have you seen their outrageously easy schedule this year?)

That means the Packers will open the playoffs at home in the Wild Card round--edging the Philadelphia Eagles.

AND THEN COMES ARMAGEDDON WEEK THREE, AS THE PACKERS FACE THEIR WORST NIGHTMARE: BRETT FAVRE IN A MINNESOTA VIKINGS UNIFORM IN A PLAYOFF GAME AT THE HUMPTY DUMP. But in yet another ironic twist of fate, a Favre interception is returned for a touchdown in overtime as the Packers advance to the NFC Championship Game AGAINST THE DALLAS COWBOYS IN DALLAS!!!!!!!!!!!

You really think I'm going to pick against Dallas against Green Bay in a playoff game???

Enjoy that Cowboys-Steelers Super Bowl. Just the way it should be.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This Is Why We Have Ears

I picked up the remastered versions of Revolver and Abbey Road by The Beatles yesterday.

I am a Beatles geek. I have been since I was a teenager and found out that their music--already twenty years old--was far better than anything hitting the top 40 in the late 1980's. And I am one of those geeks who believes that the original recordings and album order are sacred--not to be tampered with, changed or over-commercialized in any way. That is why I was a little leery a few years ago when I heard that the master recordings were going to be "cleaned up" and repackaged. But I am here today to tell you that those fears were completely unfounded.

I'm such a geek that I was getting a little teary eyed listening to the "new" albums yesterday afternoon. The clarity of each individual voice and instrument is outstanding. The string quartet on Elanor Rigby is so crisp now it's like you are inside the cello. The tape hiss is no longer as loud as the piano intro to Good Day Sunshine and you can finally decipher all of the little sound effects in the background of Yellow Submarine. And don't even get me started on what the Abbey Road Medley sounds like now.

It's taking all of my Dave-Ramsey-inspired-financial-willpower to keep from rushing out and buying all 14 of the remastered versions--and the 290-dollar mono box set--right now. Let me tell you it is worth it.

However, I am going to discourage you from going out to get The Beatles: Rock Band video game. Sure the graphics are great and the remastered songs are featured on that as well--but if you really want to experience the Beatles music, why not just go out and buy a guitar and learn how to play the songs for real!! How did we get to the point where "pretending" to be world class at something is good enough for us? If I hear one more person tell me how great they are at "Tiger Woods Golf on the Wii" I'm going to take out my four iron and beat them with it. This especially goes for parents--buy the kids the real instruments and let them enjoy the satisfaction of learing to play for real. It does their brains a lot more good as well.

I am also issuing a plea to the remaining Beatles: Do not agree to put you music on ITunes for digital downloading!! We finally get these beautiful cleaned up recordings and your going to make them mp3s? I will never understand why kids today are so obsessed with listening to versions of music that are only 1/10th as rich as the original recordings (and yes I can tell the difference immediately). So why rob everyone of the hard work that was put into restoring the original recordings? SAY NO TO MP3S.

So now I've got my remastered Beatles CD's--and documentary DVD's as well. Nothing left to do but just sit back and wait for the Blu-Ray versions--mixed in what will probably be 7.1 stereo by the time that happens. I mean, this has to be why evolution gave us ears.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Baby On Board--Everywhere

So what do you think is more ridiculous: the Green Bay Packers charging 50-bucks to bring a nine-month old boy into Lambeau Field for a game...or someone wanting to bring a baby to a professional football game?

As far as I'm concerned, the Packers are well within their rights to charge every person passing through the gate some kind of admission fee. This goofball grandfather from West Allis raising a stink about how he had to buy a ticket for his grandson--even though he would be sitting on his lap--says the boy wasn't taking up a seat, so he shouldn't have to pay. What the grandfather is missing here is that when you go to Lambeau, you aren't paying for real estate--you are paying for the privilege of witnessing the game itself. Why do you think they have standing room only tickets at many venues? Now, to keep order within the arena, you are assigned a seat--usually with better sight angles the more you are willing to pay.

The real issue that I have in this entire debate is why you would even consider bringing an infant to a Packers game. I suspect the reason this grandfather did it is so that twenty years from now everybody in the family could brag that "Little Tommy went to his first Packers game when he was just nine months old." So Little Tommy, what do you remember about that game? Nothing? Really?? I thought that would be such a momentus occasion for you that your still-developing brain would store away every single thing that happened from the moment you pulled into the parking lot for the three hours of tailgaiting beforehand. Given that this was a night game--the child was probably asleep by the middle of the first quarter. If you can sleep with people shouting profanities all around you and spilling beer on you.

This Lambeau Baby case really sums up a growing problem in our society--parents taking their kids where they really don't belong. I have seen babies at R-rated movies, kids running around in bars and I have had dinners at very expensive restaurants ruined by crying toddlers. Somewhere along the line it became acceptable to take children everywhere--and to expect everyone else to cater to them.

I grew up in the '70's and I can tell you that my sister and I hardly went anywhere with our parents. Out for dinner was McDonalds or Pizza Hut. We went to Brewers games on Kids and Senior Citizens days. Shopping was a quick run into Shopko and if my parents wanted to go somewhere nice, they got a babysitter. Maybe there is a severe shortage of teenage girls wanting to make some extra cash by watching other people's kids for a few hours. Or maybe today's parents fear they can't be away from their kids for more than ten minutes without the children suffering some kind of irrepairable mental harm.

My wife and I don't have kids yet, but we are in total agreement that when we do we will only take them place where having children is appropriate. If that means we have to give up a few things--that is a sacrifice we are willing to make for society.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My New Hero

I'm sure many of you are tuning in (or logging on) today expecting me to rip into Brett Favre for coming back to play again in the NFL. Well I'm afraid that you will be disappointed--because I am actually making Brett Favre my new hero. In fact, I am going to live my life just like Number Four--because obviously it is the best life anyone can imagine.

That is why I am announcing that I am retiring from WOSH. The fire to get up at 3:00 in the morning and come in to work just isn't there anymore. I've given all that I can give to Oshkosh radio and there's nothing left for me to prove.

Of course, I would be willing to come back to work tomorrow--for a competing radio station if the bosses there will let me come in late (about 8:45 would be nice). I'd also like someone else to do all my newsgathering and writing as well so there is no need to really prepare for the day. In fact, just throw out the scripts--I'll just make things up as I go along--that is why people have loved me for so long. I don't care what's in the playbook--I'm a gunslinger baby--I make my own rules now.

I really don't care that my job has been promised to other people after my retirement. I'm Jonathan Krause--I've got awards on my wall--that automatically proves I'm better than any of those slubs.

Oh and by the way, if you ask me if I'm coming back to work at the station I am going to tell you a bald-faced lie--even though management and I have the deal all worked out. You don't need to know the truth about what I'm doing.

I hope my new co-workers don't plan on talking to me or expect me to take part in corporate team-building activities. I've been around long enough in this business to know what I am doing. Just do enough to make me look good. I'll take all the credit when things go great--but you will be thrown under the bus for not wanting it enough when things go bad.

I also want my own private office, my own jet and when we do have to travel, I get my own room at a better hotel than where everyone else is staying, thank you.

You know, I think I am really going to like living like my new hero--Brett Favre. Now if I could just find someone to pay me 12-million dollars a year to sabotage their company and shatter their hopes and dreams.........

Thursday, July 23, 2009

An Update on the Journey

Before I start on today's extended topic, I have to issue a My Two Cents correction. Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris--a regular follower of the My Two Cents blog apparently--called to correct my math yesterday. Harris pointed out, correctly, that if the School Board voted to raise my taxes by 12-percent--and the other taxing entities raised theirs as well--the percentage of increase would not be the sum of the percentages--but rather their average. So my predictions of a 20-percent tax hike was not mathmatically correct. I apologize for the error. That does not however make it any easier to accept double digit increases in the total tax bills this winter.

We now return to our regularly scheduled rant........

If you listen to or read My Two Cents on a regular basis, you know that my wife and I are looking to adopt a child. Yesterday, we spent nearly all day in our first Adoption Education Class. This is where the case workers prepare you for the adoption process--and all of the challenges associated with it. In our class are six other couples from throughout Northeast Wisconsin who are working with the same agency. Some already have placement of children--thanks to connections to birth mothers who knew those couples were the ones she wanted to raise her child. Cover your ears those of you on the Religious Right!!! One of the couples is gay.

We also talked about the feelings that each person involved in the adoption process goes through--not just at the time the child is turned over--but before and after that as well. It really makes you think about the difficult choices women with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies face--and how those around them should be as supportive as possible--rather than ostracizing the women or making them feel like they have done something wrong.

One of our homework assignments is to fill out a daily "clock" breaking down the amount of time we spend on each activity. I already know that my clocks will have too much "work time", too much "golf time" and not enough "sleep time". I should probably work on more "wife time" as well.

We go back for another class next Wednesday--which means I will miss at day at EAA for the first time in nine years. But believe me, in the long run it will be worth it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

One Small Step...

Today marks the 40th anniversary of man landing on the moon--the greatest single achievement in the history of mankind. Although I tend to agree with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin that the greatest achievement was bringing them back again.

I turn 37 this month--so I was not around for the moon landing. And I fear that my generation will never be able to match that accomplishment. Sure the internet is nice--and has done more for our lives than a couple of guys walking on the moon ever did--but the sheer audacity of going to another world that has absolutely no way to support life captures the exploring spirit of humans even more than Columbus heading west to find India or Amundson making it to the South Pole.

I wonder if we could even pull off something like the first moon landing today? The sheer cost alone would make most lawmakers choke. We need to pay for health care now you know. And every aspect of the project would undergo an environmental study--important to know if the rocket noise will adversely affect nesting habits of shorebirds in the area. And the entire project will have to be "carbon neutral"--don't want to heat up the environment trying to get out of it. Better make sure that Tang is vegan friendly as well.

And forget about sending three white guys to the moon. The Lunar Modual of today would have to hold about ten people so we can make sure to have a woman, an African-American, a Wise Latina, a gay or lesbian astronaut, a senior citizen to make sure we "properly represent" America. We'd better have plenty of exits as well--since everyone will have to step off the LEM at the same time--so no one can claim to be the "first". Wouldn't want anyone to feel bad being the "second" or the "third".

And don't even think about planting a US flag on the moon now. We don't want anyone else in the world to think that the United States is better than where they live. We don't even have health care coverage for everyone! Better to put a United Nations flag up there--or better still, one of those "O's" with the red, white and blue stripes inside of it and our new national motto "Hope and Change".

Today's first moon landing wouldn't include Neil Armstrong's inspirational first words "That's one small step for (a) man....." Today we would have an on-line poll to choose the first words on the moon--with something stupid like "Whoooomp there it is!!" winning. Of course, the astronauts probably wouldn't even bother saying anything after that first step. Today they would "tweet" on Twitter. "just stepped on the moon--thinking about how great it would be to have an iced cappaccino right now. I need to get some "moon" songs on my IPod."

To pay for the moonshot, NASA would likely have to sell corporate sponsorship like NASCAR--so "The Eagle has landed" would have to be "The Ford Motorcraft Little Debbie Snake Cakes Lunar Modual has landed. I would also like to thank the folks at Hooters and Quaker State for making this possible." Selling patches on spacesuits, stickers on the spacecraft and superimposing a corporate logo on the moon's surface as the astronauts walk around on TV would also be a great way to make some cash.

When you think about it, the 1960's were the perfect time for the the first moon landing. The Baby Boomers providing the youthful exuberance for the mission--and the Greatest Generation providing the work ethic and the know-how to get it done. Today, we'd rather just have a Nintendo Wii game that makes it feel like all of us are "walking" on the moon. Why put in all that hard work to actually go there?

Friday, July 17, 2009


My latest idea for becomming a billionaire has hit a major roadblock. I thought that I could develop the hot new internet site it turns out that the domain name is already being used. It's not even an interesting site--just someone advertising wedding services. I don't even know why they would have selected for the site. would have become the exclusive source of "news" that generates plenty of coverage on the 24-hour channels--but really has no impact on the average American's life at all. For instance, need to know the latest on what happened to Michael Jackson's body after his memorial service last week? Go to Want to watch live coverage of said memorial service?

When Brett Favre announces that he will make his announcement soon on whether he will play for Minnesota this season, will be your exclusive source. Madonna trying to steal another baby from Africa? is all over that one. would also become the only portal to celebrity Twitter accounts. Make that all Twitter accounts. We should probably look at taking over MySpace and Facebook as well--both perfect candidates for would have an entire page dedicated exclusively to televised police chases. Another page would be dedicated to local bowling scores--rolled a 200-game last night? Send your two friends to to check it out!!

By making the outlet for all things non-important, the rest of the media can focus on the really important things--like the Congressional Budget Office's report on the "real" cost of the new health care bill. In case you didn't hear about that one--and it would be easy to miss since it wasn't the top story on any nightly newscast this week--the report finds the House Democrat's plan would not cut what the government spends on health care--which is what we were promised--or even equal what is currently being spent. Instead, it would add half a trillion dollars in federal spending over the next decade.

That's the kind of news you would never see on

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Save the GMO

If you have a few extra million dollars lying around right now, would you please consider sponsoring the PGA Golf tournament in Milwaukee? The US Bank Championship tees off today--for the final year. There is no corporate sponsor in place for next year--and without one, the PGA could pull the event from Milwaukee.

I know that you are shedding crocodile tears for the plight of what used to be the Greater Milwaukee Open. It's just a golf tournament, Jonathan--we will get along fine without it. But keep in mind that the event has generated five million dollars for charity over the past ten years. This year's main beneficiary will be the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's Hospital in Milwaukee. If your newborn was one of those treated with new equipment or procedures deveoped with the money generated by the PGA Tour stop--I would bet you would think it's important to keep the tournament in Milwaukee.

The GMO has been hurt by a couple of things over the past few years. Being moved to an "alternate field" status opposite the British Open was the biggest blow. That all but guaranteed that marquee players will not be paying a visit to Milwaukee. But there is hope that could change. Wisconsin natives Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker are proposing the event move to August--replacing the Buick Open in Michigan (seeing as how Government Motors won't be "wasting" money anymore advertising through sports sponsorships). Being just two weeks before the final major of the year--the PGA Championship--Milwaukee could become a draw again for the world's best. Remember, Milwaukee is where Tiger Woods began his pro career back in 1997. Of course, he hasn't been back since--but the new date might bring him (and the huge crowd he draws) back.

If you are going to drop the millions to sponsor the tournament, can I ask one favor? Please put "Milwaukee" back in the title. If you stopped 100-people on the street today, how many could tell you where the US Bank Championship is played? Maybe three or four hard-core golf fans at the most? But if you ask those same 100-people where is the Greater Milwaukee Open played--I'm guessing at least 90-percent of them would guess Milwaukee. I realize the idea is to get the corporate sponsor in the name (and therefore on the TV screen) as much as possible--but a little love for the Beer City would be nice.

If the Quad Cities of Iowa can support a PGA Tour stop--can't a "Major League" city like Milwaukee?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wacko Coverage

Is it safe to turn on the 24-hour "news" channels now? I officially stopped caring about the death of Michael Jackson about ten minutes after news "broke" of his death last Thursday. I am apparently in the minority--as round the clock coverage has continued on all of the news channels--and the main networks as well.

If we didn't have "breaking news coverage" of the body being taken to the morgue--we had "team coverage" of fan reaction outside the Neverland Ranch. And once we got tired of the people who showed in hopes of being interviewed by a TV reporter--we had more "breaking news" of a press conference featuring Jackson's father--or attorney--or Al Sharpton. Has there ever been any high profile incident involving an African American that didn't result in Al Sharpton standing behind a microphone?

Even the local channels got in on the act--sending reporters to Waterfest here in Oshkosh--or to some music store to get "local reaction" to Jackson's death. It's too bad I wasn't asked about that because it would have been "I don't give a shit." And you can quote me on that.

In his Sunday column on the electronic media in the "Chicago Tribune", Phil Rosenthal points out that the death of Elvis--a far more iconic and culturally influential artist than Michael Jackson--wasn't even the top story on the CBS Evening News on August 16th, 1977. CBS--the top rated news program at the time--led with President Gerald Ford's support for returning the Panama Canal zone back to Panamanian control by the end of the century. In fact, Elvis's death wasn't mentioned for three more stories on CBS. Rosenthal points out that CBS was pilloried for this "error in editorial judgement"--NBC and ABC led with Elvis's death that night--but just the fact that a major news operation would even consider a celebrities' death to be less than life-shattering would be refreshing today.

Another thing that gets my goat is the sycophantic coverage provided to Jackson. Respected journalists are using the title Jackson gave to himself "The King of Pop" like it was something he had been granted by the US government. The man gave himself the name people!!! He's not the king of anything.

Glenn Beck on Fox News always talks about his 9-12 initiative--where he wants people to return to the feelings of resolve, anger and determination we felt the day after the 9-11 attacks. I just wish the national media would return to the 9-12 attitude of returning to coverage of what's really important in life. You know, on the same day Michael Jackson died, an Army soldier from Peshtigo, Wisconsin was fighting for his life at a hospital in Germany--after coming under attack by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Did you hear anything about Private Steven Drees that day--or any day until his death was confirmed by the Pentagon yesterday? I know I could have lived with 24-hour coverage of his life and accomplishments.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Signs, Signs Everwhere a Sign

Why do so many people think the rules don't apply to them? I ask this after playing in a golf tournament this weekend--and seeing guys chipping onto the practice green--which was surrounded by signs that said "NO CHIPPING". I could understand if there was just one sign facing the opposite direction from where these guys were chipping--but there were at least five signs covering every direction around the green. And I swear one guy was literally chipping balls over one of the signs itself.

I notice this sort of thing all over the place. I make several trips to the grocery store every week to pick up a few fresh things each time. That means I usually go through the Express Lane. In many cases there is someone with a suspiciously large number of items in their carts ahead of me. Since the sign at the register clearly says "15 Items or Less"--I count the number of items that person puts on the conveyor. You would be surprised how many times its more than 15. In many cases its more than 20. Maybe we have some mathmatically-challenged people here in Oshkosh--but 23 is not even close to 15. It's more likely that those people think the rules don't apply to them.

Smokers are good ones for ignoring signs as well. We have a sign on the door behind our building telling smokers to put their butts in the ashcan provided for them outside. Do you know what is littering the ground right underneath that sign? That's right, cigarette butts. Some are literally lying less than six inches from the ashcan. Another of my favorites is the the group of smokers huddled outside the building where they work smoking right in front of the "NO SMOKING IN THIS AREA" signs. Maybe they think the rule doesn't apply in cold or rainy weather.

So why do people routinely ignore warning signs and so many rules? Maybe it's because there is no repercussions for breaking them. Do you think anyone would have been chipping on the practice green this weekend if a tournament official came over and told one person they were disqualified? Or if a course worker had taken the chipped balls off the green and threw them in the woods? Would Miss 24-items in the Express Lane delay things for the rest of us if she was made to decide which nine items she would not be allowed to buy? Or if she had to take the extra items back and return them to the shelves herself? And how many smokers would throw their butts on the ground if they had to pick them up with their teeth?

You may think that this is all small beans and who cares if someone ignores a sign or a rule? But this is just another symptom of the lack of personal accountability in our society today. If we don't care about the "small stuff" we will eventually not care about the big stuff--like paying your debts, taking care of yourself and making sound business decisions so you don't need a big government bailout. Oops, looks like we may have moved past caring about those as well.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Personal Ads

Craigslist has a personals section that allows people who may not know each other to post messages with hopes the other person might see it. Today, I have some messages for some of the people at Waterfest last night.

To the people who rave about how great Three Beers 'til Dubuque is: GET YOUR HEARING CHECKED!!!!! That had to be the worst versions of Brown Eyed Girl and Come On Eileen that I have ever heard in my life.

To the person who decided to have Stella Artois and Rolling Rock on tap now at the Leach: Thank you for saving me from beer hell. Shows at the Leach just haven't been the same since I couldn't get Leinie's after the switch to Budweiser products a few years back.

To the people stuck behind me during the Gin Blossoms set: Sorry you couldn't see much. I've been 6'3" since I was 19-years old--and I don't feel like slouching all night. Believe it or not, I have been to a few concerts where the only guy taller than me in the entire arena was right in front of me.

To the two old guys who threatened to fight each other right in front of the stage: Settle down before you hurt yourselves. Yes the "Cocky Guy" did pull the hair of the other guy's wife--but if you two had actually squared off it would have been hilarious to watch.

To the "Cocky Guy" from the item above: Please save the make out session with your wife for someplace less public. I enjoy the occasional romantic public display of affection--but the way you two were going at it was just disgusting. Next time, just put a Gin Blossoms CD in the stereo and stay in your bedroom.

To the people who feel the need to film every concert they go to on their cell phone cameras: I hope you enjoy the jerky action and mono mp3 audio--I'm sure it will be just like you were there when you watch that back on the one-inch screen. Can't we just have memories of experiences anymore instead of having everything on digital media?

To the middle-aged blonde woman dressed like a teenager in the first row along the stage: Give up the "Rock Groupie" dream. I didn't enjoy seeing your "junk" on display--and I'm guessing the guys on stage weren't digging it either. At least she kept her stuff covered up--unlike the woman right in front of the stage a few years ago who enjoyed a couple of Bodeans songs with one of her breasts hanging out of her tank top.

And people wonder why I enjoy going out less every year.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Tough Day To Play

Usually, I would be giddy today as the US Open--my favorite golf tournament of the year--gets underway this morning at Bethpage Black in New York. But this year I am actually sort of dreading the tournament. Not because I worry about the best golfers in the world getting embarrassed by a nearly impossible layout (that is actually why I enjoy the Open so much)--but rather because my favorite golfer, Phil Mickelson, will be dealing with some really heavy emotions.

For those who don't follow golf closely, Phil's wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is scheduled to start chemotherapy in a few weeks. After the initial diagnosis, Phil took a few weeks off from the PGA tour to be with her. But Amy is insisting that her husband get back out there and to continue playing--especially this week--at the tournament where he has finished a heartbreaking second a record-tying four times.

This is beginning to sound like the script for your average Hollywood sports movie--the lovable golfer who is struck by personal tragedy rises above the pain and the distraction to win the big championship and be carried off by the crowd--with a cutaway to the ailing wife smiling, crying and cheering the loudest. Unfortunately, Bethpage Black is not a Hollywood sound stage and the outcome this week is not scripted. It is a layout that punishes even the least inaccurate of shots.

Because Phil is the second most popular golfer in the sport, we will get to see everyone of his shots as part of TV coverage of the Open. What I fear is that he will let the distraction get to him and that we will watch a meltdown of a world-class player over ten televised hours.

I imagine some of you are thinking "He's just playing golf"--but that Phil's job out there. And I know that people go to work every day dealing with tragedy in their lives--but how many do it in a theater where millions of people can watch their mistakes--and then replay them for hours on end on Sportscenter and another channel dedicated entirely to your career?

So good luck to Phil this week--and here's hoping that maybe Hollywood will come true just this one time.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Memories of the Flood

I'm sure everyone living in Oshkosh can remember what they were doing on this date a year ago. For many, it was watching in horror as their basements, their homes and their yards filled up with water--as it just would not stop raining hard that evening.

Some of the things I'll always remember from the flood of '08 include watching the water literally flowing into Oshkosh Lourdes High School through broken windows--flooding out lower level classrooms, locker rooms and both of the gymnasiums. I'll never forget what appeared to be a geyer shooting up from a drain hole in one guy's backyard not far from Lourdes--and people in that same neighborhood trying to help each other get vehicles or personal belongings to someplace that wasn't under water.

I still remember running into the band that was supposed to open for the BoDeans at Waterfest that night walking around the east side of town trying to find streets that weren't flooded out so they could get out of town. I still chuckle when I think of the Auxiliary Police officer who was directing traffic on 9th Avenue telling people that had just been detoured off of flooded Highway 41 that there was nowhere for them to go since the city streets were completely flooded out in both directions as well. And I can still recall the anger people living around the Ohio Street area felt as they saw their properties flood out for the second time in less than a week. Many of them are still angry--as they feel the city has done nothing to address the problem.

I'll never forget the sick feeling I had in my stomach when I tried calling home that night and my wife wasn't answering. I was imagining her using a bucket trying to keep up with the water overflowing from the sump pit or leaching through the basement walls. We actually caught a break--because the weekend before the heavy rains caused an overflow of the sump pit and we found a problem with the pump. We got that fixed just in time for the Big One a few days later.

I'm sure several of my co-workers will remember having to sleep on the couches in our sales office because there was no way for them to get back home that night. One former co-worker still recalls the sight of fish swimming in the hallway of his apartment building. And we have a couple of new station vehicles thanks to our parking lot flooding out.

While the signs of damage may be gone, those memories will live on. Along with the pride we should feel for bouncing back from that disaster--with neighbor helping neighbor--showing why we like living here in Oshkosh.

Monday, June 8, 2009

More Quick Hits

Get ready to buy your purple Number Four jersey. ESPN is reporting that Brett Favre had surgery on his injured right shoulder last week. Since that really wasn't necessary to throw the ball in his Wrangler Jeans commercials, you can only assume that his most recent "retirement" will be for four months again.

What do you think people living in the Dakotas think about global warming? A half-foot of snow in June? Makes the rain and 50's that we "enjoyed" this weekend seem balmy by comparison.

Why do the Tony Awards continue to get prime-time coverage on network TV? Outside of those living in the Northeast US, how many people actually attend first-run Broadway shows every year? Even I saw two of the Best Picture nominees for the Oscars this year. Of course, the fact the Tony's are held in the ratings dead period of June reflects just how important CBS believes them to be.

Can someone other than the Detroit Red Wings win the Stanley Cup please? How about a team full of hard-hitting, young Canadian and American players that play "Old Time Hockey" instead of the overpaid, Euro-born, smooth skating fossils that the Wings employ.

Here's a suggestion for punishment if police ever catch the vandals who keep damaging the Winagamie Golf Course: trim all of the 27 greens by hand with one of those rounded, plastic kids' scissors. Those morons have damaged greens and golf carts at a course I enjoy playing. I don't enjoy being a victim of crime like that--so I would take some pleasure seeing those idiots hunched over the burning sun of a July afternoon clipping the grass until their hands are so sore they would never consider vandalizing the place again. We should probably invite all their friends over to watch their punishment as well.

Take this one to the bank: Tiger Woods will win the US Open in two weeks. He looked to be in peak form Sunday winning the Memorial at Jack's house on Sunday--and he has won at Bethpage Black before. The only question is how dramatic he will make it this time around.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Our New Hero

We have a new hero today. Bill Vandenburgh is a town of Ripon homeowner who awoke to find a burglar trying to steal his guns and his cash last month. Bill decided he was not going to take that lying down--so he grabbed his shotgun and decided to confront the burglar. Now bill is likely to become a national figure as the "drive-by national media" picks up on his story.

This morning, we are airing the 911 tapes of the incident where Bill is asking the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Department to send deputies quick--because he might shoot the guy who was trying to rob him. In the background you can hear the gutless thief begging for mercy--probably filling his pants and wishing that he had never hatched the idea of robbing the place. I guess picking on a 68-year old man wasn't such a good idea after all.

I'll be interested to see what the public reaction will be--especially if Bill's story does go national--and the 911 tapes are played ad nauseum on the 24-hour news channels. To me, Bill Vandenburgh is a real American hero. Someone who exercised his rights to protect his life and his property--and didn't accept being a victim. This incident is one of the two reasons I believe the Founding Fathers included a right to bear arms provision in the Constitution--and why they made it the second of our guaranteed rights--behind only free speech.

Of course, we also have law enforcement today telling us that you shouldn't confront thieves and criminals like that--because things could escalate and someone could end up dead. Better to accept being on the end of the gun fearing for your own life. Just give us a call when its over--and maybe we'll be able to track down the burglar. Well, I'm guessing deputies had no trouble finding the meathead who broke into Bill Vandenburgh's house. He was the guy lying on the floor weeping like a little girl.

Speaking of that, I'd be willing to bet there is a personal injury attorney or two who are thinking right now "That poor burglar should not have been made to suffer like that!! He has a right to sue that mean old man with the gun for emotional distress!!" Fortunately, there are dozens of gunowner groups who would be more than happy to pick up Bill's legal fees.

So good on ya Bill Vandenburgh you are our new American Hero.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why We Don't Take Vacation

Many of us return to work today after a long weekend vacation. If you are like me, you are returning to a pile of work that will leave you to wonder "Why did I even bother taking time off?" It's that post-vacation avalanche that deters many people from using all of their vacation time every year. I haven't used every vacation day that I've had coming for five years. And the only reason I did that year is because I took a two-week honeymoon trip to Hawaii. You should have seen the effort required to catch up on my work after that one.

The ability to take a truly "relaxing" vacation has been reduced even more in the "New New Economy"--as there are even fewer people to pick up the extra work. Some of us may actually feel guilty about taking paid time off--while those we leave behind struggle to take on even more work--thanks to us. Of course if you don't like your co-workers--then it probably won't bother you a bit to add more to their piles.

It would also help if we could all stagger our time off so that we don't all end up in the same vacation spots at the same time. When my parents started going "Up North" there was hardly anybody else up there. But then, the Milwaukeeans and the FIBS found out about how great things are up there and the next thing you know--they were flocking to the "Hottest Vacation Spot in the Midwest". Now the highways are jammed all weekend, the lakes are filled with boaters, jetskiers and fishermen and it no longer seems like you are "getting away from it all". Ironically, things might be slower and more relaxed at the place you left behind--since everyone is trying to get away from there.

That's why I have to chuckle when lawmakers introduce bills to require companies to provide paid vacations to their employees. I imagine the full-time, seasonal employees of the resorts and restaurants in Wisconsin's vacation destinations using that required time off to "get away" from all the people on vacation.

I'd love to discuss this some more--but I need to get caught up on all the work I missed while I was gone.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Brett Favre's Back and Your Defense Is In Trouble

Admit it Packers fans, you want Brett Favre to come back (again) as a Minnesota Viking. ESPN is reporting that the retired-for-the-second-time, I've-got-nothing-left-to-give, I've-got-nothing-left-to-prove, ruining-my-hall-of-fame-legacy quarterback will meet with Vikes Head Coach Brad Childress to discuss joining the purple this season. According to Ed Werder, Favre is telling friends that he remains angry with the way the Packers treated him in his first retirement--and that he wants to play in Minnesota to "exact his revenge".

I'm guessing there are more than a few fans of the Green and Gold who are saying "Bring it on, Brett". Only the most ardent "Brett is bigger than the Packers fan" is unwilling to admit that it was time for the team to move on and turn over the reins to Aaron Rodgers. And most of those fans are over the fantasy that somehow the team would have won eight more games last year if only Number Four had been at the helm. By signing with the Vikes and vowing "revenge", I doubt Brett will be winning back any of those fans. In fact, I forsee a Philadelphia-type situation where the Packers defense knocks Brett out of the game at Lambeau--and Packers fans cheer as Favre writhes in pain on the Frozen Tundra.

But as I have stated in previous My Two Cents, that is not what Brett Favre is about anyway. He's not about building fan loyalty, or being a good teammate or even always doing what is best for the franchise. Brett Favre is about Brett Favre and that is it. I'll be interested to see if people turn out at the Lindbergh Airport in Minneapolis or the Metrodome with signs of support for Brett--or with signs telling him to get the hell out of town and not treat our team as your latest self-serving prop.

Brett's favorite cheerleaders are behind him once again. The talking heads on ESPN seem to agree that the Vikings are "a quarterback away from winning the NFC and going to the Super Bowl". Is the quarterback the Vikes need the one that led the NFL in interceptions last year? The "leader" who talked to basically no one in the Jets locker room last season? The QB who admitted that he had injured his arm about halfway through the season--yet refused to undergo surgery? I can't believe that every team but Green Bay isn't blazing a trail to Kiln, Mississippi to sign this guy.

So break out the old-style, soap opera organ music, as we get ready for another season of "As the Brett Favre Turns"--every day on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNNEWS and ESPNRADIO.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Thanking Teachers

Responses to the "My Two Cents" blog often throw teachers under the bus for the financial problems schools have across Wisconsin. But today, I am going to praise teachers for the difference they have made in my life. This is National Teacher Day after all.

It all started with Sister Clara in first grade at St Mary's school in Clarks Mills. She encouraged me to read to the class and to take on extra credit work doing third and fourth grade level math. She made it okay to be the smartest kid in the class-and didn't require me to work at the pace of the others.

I also remember Mr. Kavanaugh at St Mary's--who fostered my first interest in politics during the 1984 Presidential election--and who played a great weekly Current Events contest that got me watching the nightly news and paying attention to the news on the radio in the morning.

I can't forget Mrs Alexander at St John the Baptist School in Howard who was allowed to teach the Big Bang Theory and Evolution at a Catholic school--opening my mind to the real scientific source of our universe and our species--and rescuing me from the confines of religious teachings.

And finally, my thanks to Mr Schadewald at Bay Port High School for furthering my interest in politics--especially those on the local level--and for organizing our trip to Europe--which gave me great perspective on how great it is to live in the US.

I'm sure that all of us who took our education seriously have a teacher who made a difference in our lives--and who we would never consider to be "overpaid", "lazy" or "greedy". Why not think about them today and give them a silent "thank you" for their efforts.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Tough Week

As someone hoping to adopt a child, this has been a very frustrating week. First, we had the story of the Kewaskum couple accused of selling their baby. The couple got six-thousand dollars for the child from a Missouri woman--who is also facing criminal charges for unauthorized adoption. Then we had the story of the newborn girl found dead in a garbage bag, abandoned in the woods in Dodge County.

In both of these cases, legal and less deadly options were available to the parents. In the case of the Kewaskum couple, I think that just plain old greed was their motivating factor. I don't know of any adoption agencies that pay parents to give up children. Adoptive parents can help an expectant birth mother with medical and legal expenses during the pregnancy--but no cash changes hands for the baby. Perhaps that's why the couple didn't go to an agency.

A quick search of the internet finds thousands of couples (and single women) desperate to be parents. They make any and all offers to birth parents--including financial guarantees that adoption agencies do not make. There are swindlers out there who like to prey upon those parents--promising to give up a child at birth, then "changing their minds" at the last minute--after the other couple has paid for thousands of dollars in expenses. I'm guessing the Missouri woman is one of those wannabe parents--driven by desperation and not really the right reasons to adopt.

The Dodge County case is even more heartbreaking. Wisconsin makes it so easy for women to find safe, loving homes for their kids. In addition to dozens of adoption agencies and charities there is the Safe Haven Law, that allows parents to leave a newborn child at any number of secure places (hospital, police or fire station) no questions asked. Instead of placing her child in a blanket--or even a cardboard box--and leaving her at the hospital, this mother chose to put her in a garbage bag and leave her along the side of the road.

I can't ever know what was going through that mother's mind. In a way I think she too was being greedy. Maybe that baby would have been an embarrassment to her--or it was going to keep her from living her "dream life". Either way, that little girl didn't deserve to die like that--alone and cold in a plastic bag.

Obviously, I can't think that one of those infants could have been "our child"--but as I said, there are thousands of other families that would gladly take them in and give them all the love they deserve. If you know someone who is dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, please steer them in that direction.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Real Hope

I feel refreshed this morning. Not physically--because I didn't sleep very well--but I feel refreshed psychologically. You see, I visited one of the local screenings of Dave Ramsey's Town Hall for Hope last night. Several hundred turned out at Oakhaven Church--where I caught the show. And hopefully they left refreshed as well.

There were no teabags in sight, no placards claiming we have become a socialist country and nobody lining up with their hands out for a bailout or a stimulus check. Just people tired of the negative hype and the government interference--looking for reassurance that they still control their own fate. And that was Dave's main message: We the people still run this economy.

Dave did not sugarcoat the situtation--and he did not pull any punches when it came to assigning blame. Republicans, Democrats, big banks, reckless investment houses and those who borrowed money to buy things they could not afford to ever pay back all must have had their ears ringing last night. Those who have taken the steps necessary to continue running their businesses successfully despite the challenges were lauded. So were those willing to start from scratch in this economy.

There were plenty of chuckles when Dave talked about the economic conditions my grandparents endured in the Great Depression--and my parents lived through during the recessions of the 1970's and early '80's. You know what? We really don't have it that bad--but try to convince anybody in Washington or at the news outlets in New York or Atlanta.

In the wrap up, Dave told a great story about a "Jonathan" that worked at his favorite sub shop--who knew everyone's name and favorite order. Just a couple of months after "Jonathan" left the shop to go back to school--the place shut down--blaming the economy. Dave thinks it was because no one was willing to work as hard as "Jonathan" to make the business successful. He then encouraged everyone to be a "Jonathan" in their workplace--or to acknowledge the good work of that "Jonathan"--maybe pay that "Jonathan" a little bit more right now since, he is more valuable that ever. This Jonathan will be waiting patiently for those kudos today.

A friend who is dealing with some real hardship right now attended last night as well. I know that friend left feeling much better about that situation and with hope for the future. As Dave asked all of us last night, I will continue to give what I can to help that friend--as well as others I know that may need it. As Dave said "maybe we can give the Government out of business".

We can only hope.

Monday, April 20, 2009

There's No Comparison

This weekend provided the perfect opportunity to compare and contrast the NHL playoffs with the NBA playoffs. There were games all over the tube both Saturday and Sunday, and they served as compelling evidence as to why hockey is 100-times better than NBA basketball.

Let's start with the intensity level. Both sports have first round series that are best of seven games. Saturday's Bruins versus Montreal game featured several real fights!! And that was just game two of the series. Just think what it will be like if it goes six or seven games? One member of the Bruins finished game one last week with a ruptured spleen--practiced the next two days--then finally went to the hospital for surgery. Meanwhile, over on the NBA side I didn't see a single hard foul on a guy going to the basket or even a hard pick. Maybe they plan to pick up the intensity in games six and seven. Or the fourth quarter of game seven. And how many NBA guys (or fans) would give up shaving for the entire playoffs?

And just how seriously can you take a contest when they continously play music DURING THE PLAY!! Does the NBA realize how boring their product is that they need a little hip hop to keep the fans entertained? I can't remember the last time I heard music during the game in hockey. During the stoppages, waiting for a faceoff yes, during a power play? No way. And especially not "Lady of Spain".

And speaking of fans, you've got to love the passion of puckheads. Philadelphia had the "Orange Out" going yesterday. Pittsburgh had the "Whiteout" going the two games before that--as all of the fans in the arena put on their team colors in a great-looking show of solidarity--which by the way, started in Winnipeg back in the 1980's and has now been copied in the few cities that care about NBA basketball. Los Angeles would not be one of those. Yellow or purple apparently not that big with the Hollywood set. Plenty of empty seats shown on camera at the Staples Center as well. I guess the "real" playoffs don't start until the finals.

There are also upsets in playoff hockey. The top seeded San Jose Sharks are already down love-two to the 8th seeded Anaheim Ducks. The second seed in the East--Washington--lost its first two at home as well. Eighth seeds have caught fire several times in the NHL Playoffs over the years and made Cinderella runs to the Cup Finals. When was the last time such a thing happened in the NBA? I'm surprised ABC isn't already running promos for the Lakers and the Cavaliers in the Finals.

So don't be afraid to check out the "other playoffs" this spring. I realize that Versus isn't the easiest channel to find on the cable system (Ch 68 on Time Warner)--and that the same three teams get all of the national exposure (Detroit, Pittsburgh, and New York)--but you might like what you see. Sure beats watching the NBA sleepwalk through its most important games.