Friday, February 27, 2009

Two Minute Drill

Here are some topics Oshkosh teachers can cover with their students during the extra two minutes they will have in each of their periods for the rest of the year:

US History: Greatest accomplishments of the Bush Administration (should leave a minute and a half for getting your books together).

Economics: Problems that will actually be fixed by the Federal Stimulus Package.

World History: How Socialism has advanced the human race.

Math: Why record amounts of spending on education every year is never enough.

Sociology: Why text messaging is a far more effective form of communication that actually talking to each other.

English: Grammar rules for text messaging.

Phy Ed: How Ninendo Wii bowling counts as exercise.

Home Ec: Modern Microwave Cuisine

Music: The Jonas Brothers contributions to modern music.

Psychology: Why parents and teachers would refuse to give up Spring Break or in-service days to make up class time lost to snow days.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Journey of Growth

My wife and I embark on a new journey together today. We are applying to become adoptive parents. We have met with adoption co-ordinators and have selected the agency that hopefully unite us with our first child.

A couple of listeners who have also adopted--or have been adopted--have heard me talk about our interest in the process earlier and have contacted me with advice. I appreciate that and will keep your recommendations in mind throughout the process. Both my wife and I know there will be many ups and downs along the way--and we will try to keep an even keel throughout.

The emotional rollercoaster actually begins right at the the application step. We spent much of the weekend debating some of the questions asked right at the start. You see, the agency provides you with a laundry list of medical and physiological condition with which a child could be born--and you have to decide if you could or could not be able to raise a child like that. In a way, you almost feel selfish saying "no" to any of them--knowing that parents expecting through pregnancy don't get to give their doctor a checklist of conditions for their baby.

Now comes the hard part--the waiting. We will first wait to see if we are chosen for the next round of parenting classes--then a home visit--then the wait for birth parents to choose us to adopt their child. If you think nine months is a tough wait to be a parent--imaging having an open-ended timeline--and no direct influence on moving it along.

But in the end, I know it will be for the best. My wife and I will have a new person to love in our lives--and a baby will be given a chance at life it might not otherwise have had.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Bad Day at Work

The recession really hits home for me today, as we have to say good-bye to our reporter Kate Fetterly. Layoffs mean we have to let Kate go after just five months on the job.

Kate came to Oshkosh committed to starting a new life. It's not my place to talk about the details of her situation, but let's just say most of us would not have wanted to follow the same path Kate took to WOSH. But she was strong and gave up pretty much everything to come here and start all over. Kate was even looking forward to assimilating into the "culture" of Oshkosh. I laugh every time I think about how excited she was about getting her first bowling ball and bowling shoes. All she needed was a sturgeon spear and you would have mistaken her for a native.

But now, those dreams of change here in Oshkosh are gone--at least as a broadcaster--taken away by the past mistakes of consumers, bankers and politicians that have come back to haunt us now. I am angry that someone who tries to play by the rules and is just trying to get back on their feet is knocked down again in such a way. It's easy to pontificate (as I often do) about personal responsibility from the position of financial and personal security that I enjoy. But what do you say to the person who is trying to get things straightened out--but just can't get past the starting line?

For all of it's faults and pork, the federal stimulus package does have some good things to it--like extended unemployment benefits, money for states to increase uninsurance compensation payments and financial assistance for COBRA payments. These are responsible, caring provisions that make sense as we enter what I still fear will be an extended period of economic malaise. And they don't commit us to huge programs that will just keep sucking life out of the national economic engine--and keep some people from ever getting ahead.

So I will miss Kate and all of the good work she has done for us here at WOSH. Given her determination, she'll fight her way through this latest setback and find success somewhere else. If anyone could use a bright and hard-working young woman on their staff, feel free to let us know.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hammerin' Hank Homers Again

You know who became just a little bit greater yesterday? Henry Aaron. With Alex Rodriguez's admission that he took performance enhancing drugs in the early 2000's, Hammerin' Hank's place as the "True Home Run King" was solidified for another generation.

Yes, Barry Bonds has hit more home runs than Hank, but do you really consider him to be the All-Time Home Run King? No you don't--because you know he cheated to get there. I'm not even sure how many he hit--because we all know it's a fraudulent number anyway. It's a safe bet that Hank Aaron didn't do steriods. He admits to never lifting weights in his life--he was just a naturally strong man with the quickest wrists that the game has ever seen--and he went out there and earned all 755 home runs he hit. And he did it all with class and graciousness that should serve as an inspiration for today's stars--but usually doesn't. You never heard broadcasters laugh at Hank half-assing it on the field and laugh it off by saying "That's just Henry being Henry!"

On the flip side, you know who looks like an even bigger fool today? Interim Commissioner for Life Bud Selig. You see, A-Rod was going to be the savior of the baseball record books. He would break the Bonds home run mark--and maybe Pete Rose's hit record as well--and bring "honor" back to the most sacred records in sports. But that is all gone now with the taint of steroids. It's sort of like when Obi-Wan Kenobi--after cutting off Anakin Skywalker's legs on the volcano planet--told him that he was the one who was supposed to bring balance to the Force, not to destroy it. Maybe now Bud will have the cajones to put the asterisks on the records set in the "Steroids Era" and preserve the honest legacy of the man Bud admits was his hero while growing up in Milwaukee.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Success Haters

I'm disappointed with many of you today. Everywhere I went last weekend and yesterday during my day off I heard people talking about how they were rooting for the Cardinals in the Super Bowl because "the Steelers have won a bunch of times--and I want someone different to win for a change."

That leads me to ask: What's wrong with sustained excellence? Why don't we celebrate those who continue to do their jobs better than everyone else on a consistant basis?

Just because they have now won six Super Bowls doesn't make the Steelers a team to be hated. I can guarantee you, executives in 29 other NFL franchises are wishing they had the same success and would love to follow the same formula. They have had just three head coaches in 40-years--and all three have won championships. I'd be willing to bet that even hard-core Packers fans would be hard pressed to name all nine of the coaches that team has had in the same time frame. All of the stars making the big plays that gave the Steelers the win on Sunday were drafted by the franchise--they weren't high priced free agents the Steelers picked up to make a one-time run to the title. And since the Cardinals have had far less success in recent decades, they could have drafted any of those same players.

Just imagine if the NFL decided that "to be fair and give everybody a chance" only teams that haven't won before are allowed to play in the Super Bowl? "Tune in for Super Bowl 44--featuring the Detroit Lions and the Cincinnati Bengals!!!!" Or if the NFL was run like most youth sports today--which treats winning and losing like some kind of evil and doesn't even keep score--the post-game ceremony would have taken forever as every team owner was presented with a Lombardi Trophy and every player in the league was given a Super Bowl ring.

This same attitude extends to life outside of sports. Rich, successful people are "greedy" and need to share more with those who aren't so successful. The guy who puts in 50 or 60 hours of work to make the company better is a "suck up" and is just making everyone else look "lazy".

So keep hating on winners bandwagon Cardinals fans. What are you going to do next year when the Dallas Cowboys are going for their sixth Super Bowl title against the Miami Dolphins--who have won twice? Success--that's a tradition we should believe in.