Sunday, November 28, 2010

Packers Week # 12

The Green Bay Packers lost to the Atlanta Falcons this afternoon in this nail biter of a game 20-17.

Here are my thoughts of the game:

Both teams played well on both sides of the ball, they were evenly matched.
It felt like I was watching a playoff game.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers fumbled on a QB sneak into the end zone-the first Packer turnover in 15 quarters.
Atlanta's kicker Matt Bryant made the winning field goal with 9 seconds left.

The Packers are now 7-4 and are still in the race for the playoffs. It didn't help that the Bears beat Philly today.

More on the game here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

(Winter) Wonderland of Northern Wisconsin

I just got back from celebrating Thanksgiving in the northern woods of Wisconsin. I had a great time with family and friends! Musta gained about 20 pounds on the turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet corn, the casseroles, stuffing, chairs, ice cream and I'm stuffed!

The weather? It was blustery cold when I arrived at my folks place just south of Crandon. Temperatures hovered around seven degrees. There was about two inches of snow that covered the ground. The lakes and rivers were starting to freeze up there giving it a more of a surreal landscape.

It was rather pretty up there...

Arbutus Lake

Lily River

Grass Lake

The Wolf River

So how was your Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow morning, I'm heading off to the desolate wonderland of Northern Wisconsin for Thanksgiving. There, I'll bask in the glow of family, friends and loved ones. Enjoying a splendid meal of turkey and the trimmings-maybe I'll burp out a chair or two.... Anyways, this year promises to better holiday than last. Why? I have so much more to thank for....Let me count the ways...

My job-I know I sometimes I whine, bitch and moan about my job. Yeah, sometimes I feel like I'm overworked and underpaid.Yet, I'm thankful for having a decent job that pays the bills with a couple of bucks to spare for a moment or two for a luxury or two. There are people out there that are unemployed.

My car-It may be a battered piece of junk that is held together by two bolts, a nut, a wad of bubblegum and a roll of duct tape, yet it gets me to points A and B quite effectively. And it's paid for!

My music-Nothing soothes the savage beast in me better than music. It's the window to my soul...There is nothing better than after a hard day's work than a beer and some great tunes!

This computer-My gateway to the world...

My friends-Both online and off....What would my world be without my friends? Absolutely dismal! I'm forever thankful for those whom has lent me an ear or a hand in times in need. The smiles, laughter and joy in time of fun!

My family-Where would I be without my family? I would hate to find out...

My girlfriend-She's something else! She has rolled up her sleeves and dug into this relationship without any questions nor any second thoughts. Somehow, someway she has managed to keep me in stitches. Her charm, wit and laughter has brought brought a smile and peace in my heart that I've been longing for....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Top 25 Albums 1966-1971

Funny how I get into music this old. I born in 1966. So I really have little or no recollection to what I was doing back then. I haven't even started school yet! To top it off, I wasn't really exposed to rock and roll then. My folks never had any albums from the Beatles or the Doors. It wasn't till I was a teenager before I stumbled across this music.

Yet when I look back at this age of classic of rock and roll, I find myself imagining being there in a somewhat older form, wishing to have experienced Woodstock. Rock and roll was an experimentation back then. A garage sale of ideas, evolving, not this big corporate money hungry blather we have today.

So let's go back in time and relive this experience. Shall we?

Led Zeppelin Untitled-1971 Let's face it, the first 6 albums from Zeppelin are classic. This one, however, is their Mona Lisa! Page, Plant and the boys pulled out all the stops in this masterpiece, including a battle with Atlantic Records over the album cover. What was considered a bad career move turned to be 22 million worldwide gain in sales! The diversity of tunes like "Rock and Roll", "Black Dog", the folkish "Going to California" and AOR hit "Stairway to Heaven" proved Zeppelin was more than just a passing fad.

Beatles Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band-1967 I had a hard time deciding what Beatles album to make this list. I had Revolver, The White Album and Abbey Road in my mind. This one, however, stands out! Don't get me wrong, all these albums are great! Sgt Pepper's stand out because what it meant to rock and roll per say. The Beatles experimented with multi-tracking here, opening the the floodgates to what is rock and roll today... No longer rock music was just entertainment, it was art!

Rolling Stones Let it Bleed-1969 Another one filled with decisions! Between this, Beggar's Banquet, and Sticky Fingers, it is a hard decision. The Stones were on the roll here! The shimmering "Gimme Shelter", the apocalyptic "Sympathy for the Devil", the bombastic "Brown Sugar", nothing could stop the Stones! Unrivaled by anybody at this point, they still remain a household name.

the Who Who's Next-1971 Yeeeaaaah! As Roger Daltrey screams in unison with Pete Townsend's guitar hammering. This classic masterpiece can make me pump my fist into the air with delight and yet, make me cry...Tunes so great that they found their way on television themes. Quite surprisingly, all came from a scrapped rock opera!

Blind Faith (s/t)-1969 It was love at first sound! Eric Clapton's wailing guitar and Steve Winwood's silky vocals-a great combination that sent waves of euphoria to my brain! Unfortunately, this hailed supergroup released only one album...

Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You Experienced?-1967 Considered by many the greatest guitarist ever lived! Hendrix opened the doors and paved the way for others to follow in his footsteps. Iconic tunes like "Purple Haze","Fire" and "Foxey Lady" helped shape of we think of music of the '60's...

Derek and the Dominoes Layla-1970 An album that is close to my heart. Eric Clapton, Duane Allman and rest of the gang creates an excellent blues rock album! The blistering blues solo on "Key to the Highway" has left me breathless! "Bell Bottom Blues" gives me the goosebumps. Who could forget the epic title track? Not only the lyrics are beautiful, the piano coda is awesome!

Creedence Clearwater Revival Chronicle-1976 I'm going break a few rules here. CCR albums tend to be inconsistent. So, picking my favorite CCR album would be difficult. Chronicle offers pretty much the best of what I love from CCR. John Fogerty's guitar playing and songwriting are unbelievable! This Sacramento, CA based band can make you feel like they are from the swamps of the South!

the Doors (s/t)-1967 Although tunes like "LA Woman" and "Riders on the Storm" are my personal favorites from the band, their debut album is one best one the sums the best of Jim Morrison's baritone poetry. Tunes like the hit "Light my Fire" to the Oedipal ending of the 12 minute epic of "The End". There is not a wasted note here!

Black Sabbath Paranoid-1970 The Godfathers of heavy metal! Ozzy, Tony Iommi and the rest of the gang creates that doomsday grungy guitar and satanic lyrics to the masses! This sound influences many heavy metal bands to this day to do the same!

Yes The Yes Album-1970 Guitarist Steve Howe joins the band after their dismal first two albums. He gives the band the much needed color and landscape the band sorely needed. The tunes got longer and craftier. A picture was being painted!

Cream Disreali Gears-1967 There are words spray painted on the underground station walls in London "Clapton is God". It's easy to see why. Clapton sure has made his presence felt in the '60's and '70's. This time with a powerhouse trio of Cream! Kicking it with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce, they bring their own brand of psychedelic blues to the world! Awesome!

Grateful Dead Workingman's Dead-1970 The Grateful Dead was always more of a live band than a studio act. Even so, both of the American Beauty and Workingman's Dead albums creatively brought some killer folk and country influences to the masses-often lacing them with drug references. More importantly, the Dead was a huge part a the hippie sub culture that prevailed during that time!

Traffic The Low Spark of the High Heeled Boys-1971 There are SO MANY great Traffic tunes out there! Tunes like "Dear Mr. Fantasy" and "Medicated Goo"are my favorites. For some reason, the Low Spark album stands out for me. Could it be the great guitar work on "Light Up or Leave Me Alone" of the memorizing piano of the title cut? Find out for yourselves! Prepared to surprised!

the Faces A Nod is as Good a a Blind Horse- 1971 Straight forward barroom blues rock at its best! No frills, no filler, no junk! Grab a beer, pull up a chair and let your foot do the stomping! Rod Stewart, Ron Wood and the rest the gang delivers a one/two punch that will knock your socks off!

Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde-1966 Bob Dylan was practically the face of the '60's! Lyrically, Dylan can't go wrong! In this critically acclaimed double album set, Dylan swaggers, brags, sighs, loves, loses, smiles, grieves, pleads, lusts, swoons and trips! A must have for any collection....

Big Brother & the Holding Company Cheap Trills-1968 Initially titled and rejected as Sex Dope and Cheap Thrills... Here Janis Joplin's unmistakeably raspy vocals grabs your soul and takes it for a ride! Her influence over female vocalists would stretch for decades to come!

Crosby, Stills and Nash (s/t)-1969 A band made famous by the Woodstock concert...This album and the follow-up, Deja Vu, with Niel Young are both awesome! With perfect folkish harmonies and social conscious lyrics, it's no wonder why they made it so big! I could sing along with these guys all day!

Santana Abraxas-1970 Oh my God! Mind blowing stuff here! Guitar god Carlos Santana and his band combine rock and roll, the blues, jazz, salsa into a mixing bowl with a Latino beat. Instrumental displays of power are shown here in tour de force with tunes like "Samba Pa Ti" and "Oye Como Va"!

Jethro Tull Aqualung-1970 A flute player in a rock and roll band? Sounds intriguing if you ask me... Rock and roll was still experimenting at this stage. Not only that, singer/flutist Ian Anderson provides great lyrical vision to complement guitarist Martin Barres hard rocking/acoustic abilities!

the Beach Boys Pet Sounds-1966 I'm not a huge fan of the Beach Boy's surf sound, but critics from all over raved about this album. It's easy to see why. Moving away from their typical surfing formula, Brian Wilson with a reluctant band, experimented with new sounds. This inspired bands like the Beatles and the Stones to do the same!

Allman Brothers Band At the Fillmore-1971 As I was writing this, I wasn't planning on mentioning ANY live albums. Yet I LOVE the Allman Brothers! Their first two albums doesn't do justice to their live music. In my opinion, this album would be WAY MUCH higher on this list...that would take a rewrite of this entire blog post. So, I finally gave in to mentioning it here. To me, no one could compare to the Allman Brothers as far as instrumental jams go!

Jefferson Airplane Surrealistic Pillow-1967 Descended from the Haight/Ashbury days in San Francisco, Jefferson Airplane creates an album that defines the time! Blending folk rock with psychedelia, the Airplane brings "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love" to the disheveled world...

the Band Music from Big Pink-1968 Was considered Bob Dylan's backing band, The Band proves that they're worthy on their own. Yes, with a little help from Dylan himself, The Band blends country, rock, folk, classical, soul and R&B in their own distinctive form! This and their second self titled album are must for any album collector!

Pink Floyd Meddle-1971 Pink Floyd was expanding their horizons even further at this point, setting a tone to what is yet to come. David Gilmour whips his steel guitar in the instrumental "One of These Days" into a frenzy while "Fearless" was a laid back acoustical masterpiece. The 23 minute "Echoes" remained a concert favorite for years to come!

I know I'm missing a few here! I could easily place albums from Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds, Velvet Underground, the Kinks, George Harrison, MC5, Steppenwolf, King Crimson, Genesis and a slew of others here...My God, what a list that would be! This was an era of exploration and experimentation here. Fueled by a culture of strife, confusion and drugs, rock and roll was going to change to world we live in.....

Packers Week # 11

The Packers swept the Minnesota Vikings this season, beating them again, 31-3. Here are my thoughts of the game....

In the first quarter, the Vikings held the Pack to only eight yards.
For the rest of the game, it was all Packers...
Packer QB Aaron Rodgers threw for 301 yards and four TD's.
The Vikings ARE in a mess...there was squabbling on the sidelines.
Me thinks Viking's coach Brad Childress is not coming back next season...
Neither will Brett Farve...

More on the game here

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Orange Pilgrimage

There was a shortage of co-workers at where I work today. Why? Some them took their annual pilgrimage to the northern boondocks of Wisconsin. Deer rifle season opens tomorrow morning. Over the next nine days there will be an ocean of orange dressed hunters filtering in and out of the woods, hoping to get lucky. Some will be driving home a dead deer on the roofs of their cars, others will not.

My Dad is one of these hunters. Every year he goes out there with his buddies and tries to be one of those lucky ones. He's gotten lucky a few times, including a nice (I think) seven pointer. It's something that he's done every year since he was old enough to handle a gun.

I do not hunt. The idea of sitting of an elevated, frozen deer stand, waiting with a .22 just to have a shot at "Bambi's dad" does not thrill me. I'm much to restless for that. However, I'm not against hunting either. It is a necessary "evil" that helps to reduce an over populated deer heard to a more manageable level. With an out of control deer population, the deer are subject to problems like extreme starvation, disease and more frequent auto/deer collisions.

What about the natural predators? We do have bears and wolves here in Wisconsin. The bears are basically omnivorous creatures. They'll basically eat anything, if it's an easy catch. A bear would rather grab an easy meal of grubs, berries and small animals than take down a healthy deer. And the endangered timber wolf? Although Wisconsin has one of the larger wolf populations in the lower 48, it's still not enough to to bring down the heard to size.

So that leaves it up to the hunters to solve the problem. Most hunters I know, not only they love the sport, are wildlife enthusiasts as well. Many of them follow the laws, rules and regulations set by the DNR to the book. Yes, there are a few bad apples. I'm completely against poaching.

Hopefully, my Dad will get lucky this year, I'm craving for venison steak and eggs for breakfast.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The End for the Racine Post

As I was going though my JTI blog, I was shocked to find out that one my favorite reads, the Racine Post is going "off the air". I've always liked the Racine Post their coverage on local events and their inside look on Racine's political scene. The stuff that isn't covered too well in the The Journal Times. Local bloggers Dustin Block and Pete Selkowe (I have met them both) founded the site in 2007. Ever since their beginnings, they have maintained a "real" approach to the local news without all the sensationalism, thus keeping their integrity. Within three years they have gotten to be well respected media site.

Dustin has accepted a great job as a regional editor for Patch, AOL's ambitious $50 million effort to establish hundreds of local news websites around the country.

I wish the best of luck to Dustin....

More on the story here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Packers Week #10

The Packers are on a bye this week...So let's talk about Super Bowl predictions. About mid season I try to make my Super Bowl predictions. Usually I'm spot on each year. This year, It's going to be tough.

The AFC teams, this year are on the strong side...As of this point, the New York Jets leads the AFC with a 7-2 record. New England and Pittsburgh are both 6-2 while Indianapolis and Baltimore are 6-3. Also in the race with a 5-4 record are, Miami, Oakland, Tennessee, and Jacksonville. Kansas City leads the West Division with a 5-3 record.

Based on this I'm taking New York or New England to take the AFC spot.

The NFC seems much easier to predict. Atlanta leads it with a 7-2 record. The New York Giants, Chicago, Green Bay, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay are all tied with a 6-3 record. Philadelphia is in the race at 5-3. St. Louis and Seattle are both tied on the top of the West Division.

I kind like seeing the New York or Atlanta being in.

What's your prediction?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thought I've Seen it All...

There are some days I think I've seen it all...Yet people continue to surprise me. After a recent trip through Oshkosh revealed me the three Farves, made me wonder about the Three Stooges..

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


All it took was the sticker on the cellophane wrapper the protected the album. It read- Asia is Geoff Downes, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer and John Wetton. I had heard of these guys before. Carl Palmer is the drummer from the Emerson, Lake & Palmer fame. John Wetton was the bassist/vocalist from bands like King Crimson and Uriah Heep. Geoff Downes was known for his key work in Buggles and the Yes Drama album. My main interest was Steve Howe, the guitarist for Yes. In my hands was an album created by a super group! How excited I was!

Besides, I thought the album cover looked cool!

My excitement didn't last long....The first time I played this record was everything short what I expected. Where was the long jams that I got used to from listening to Yes and ELP albums? The choruses? Awfully repetitious...It felt like I was listening to a washed out progressive rock band heavily influenced by the '80's new wave. I quickly shelved the record in dismay.

Then I read a magazine article about them. I don't remember what magazine it was, but does it really matter? Anyways, as I was reading this article, it was saying something about them not having any individual soaking nor hogging the spotlight. More or less bringing balance to the group. They've got a good point.... I remembered hearing ELP's Works Vol.1 and thought it was WAY too indulgent. C'mon, a 20 minute piano solo? Great...but BORING!

That shed a new light on the record....

Shredding away the pompousness, the band decided to keep it simple and to the point. A great idea if you ask me. Less is more sometimes. The more I listened to this album the more I liked it! This album grew onto me! It soon became one of my best albums of the '80's

This album is basically power prog rock that is suitable for arenas. Sort of like Yes meets Boston, Journey, Styx, Foreigner...and so forth. Tunes like "Heat of the Moment", "Wildest Dreams", "Time Again" and "Sole Survivor" are driven, packing a punch! Mellower moments like "Only Time Will Tell" sounds great without being sappy. Throughout this album each member rises to the occasion without going over the top! The solos are there, but trimmed down nice and neatly. Perhaps this this would have been the new direction for prog rock...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Packers Week #9

The Packers slaughtered the hapless Dallas Cowboys 45-7 tonight.

Here are my thoughts of the game...

The Packers just dominated the game through out.
Dallas' QB Tony Romo was out for the season with a broken collarbone.
GB's superstar defensive lineman Clay Matthews intercepted a pass and returned it for a 62 yard TD.
The only sign of life for Dallas was a TD late in the first half.

More on the game here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Preparing for Hiberation....

It was a balmy 43 degrees outside today. I could feel the cold wind biting my skin through my winter jacket. Looking around, I see squirrels digging holes in the ground storing walnuts for the upcoming winter months. There was this flock of geese flying overheard in V-formation. The trees are getting bare-stripped of their leaves. All classic signs of autumn's end.

Much as I hate to admit it, I'm not looking forward to what's around the corner. Winter. The land of ice and snow. Yes, the sub-zero temperatures, the howling blizzards and perilous drives in the snow. I hate the cold and the boredom of being cooped up inside.

As I'm writing this, I'm getting snow tires on my car, putting my concert T-shirts away and donning on my Packer sweat shirts. I'm going into hibernation....

The 6th Street Bridge over the Root River in Racine...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Company Divided

So it begins...or is it the calm before the storm? The lines are being drawn now in the company I work for. I more I hear, the more uncomfortable I am being at my workplace. The union talk has stirred up a hornet's nest. I'm waiting for someone to get stung...

Here are the latest news:

The company DOES NOT want the union. Well, duh! I heard that my company spent $50,000 on a weekend boat trip wooing a possible customer...Kinda sounds like AIG to me.

Several employees, including me, were individually pulled into the office for a chat about the union. All I told them that I was skeptical and wasn't sure about the union. Which is true. If anything sounds too good, there HAS to be a catch.

I also heard the union is full of empty promises. One story told to me was about a company they represented in Fond du Lac. Instead of better wages, the pay was cut and frozen for seven years! Not the kind of thing I'd want to be working for....

Now some of our employees are acting REALLY stupid! Someone hacked into our computer system software and obtained information on the employees' wages! My company is PISSED OFF about this! This is illegally obtained info! No doubt that this is going to the union for negotiations. My company has offered a hefty reward for catching the person responsible for this incident.

Here I am, chasing the American Dream. Yeah, I'd love to exchange my apartment for a house, trade my clunker for a decent car and maybe hang a plasma TV on the wall. After 23 years there, something would be nice... Reality wise, I'm just glad that I have a somewhat decent job.

I plan to to keep my eyes and ears open, and my mouth shut. Just move along with my day to day stuff at work. Just keeping my heads up above this maelstrom...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Sorry, if these pics were posted up late. I had several blog ideas that I started and later shelved. Here are some pics from Wabeno, WI. Wabeno is a small town with 1,264 people. It's only 20 minutes east of my folks. It has a logging museum that's cool and refreshing water that's branded with the town's namesake...

Wabeno Logging Museum

An antique logging train

The river that flows through town

Monday, November 1, 2010

45th Anniversary

Today my folks celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. Congratulations I'd say! 45 years is a hell a long being with someone, through the good times and the bad. I've been totally amazed by the longevity of their marriage. Not too many marriages these days last long....

My folks had met each in Mossy Rock, Washington in 1965. My dad was stationed at Ft. Lewis near Olympia. It wasn't long before they got married. Just days after they got married, my father got shipped off to Vietnam. After a four months fighting overseas, my father came home to take my mother to his native Wisconsin. Then I came along...

I'm sure that my folks had their trials and tribulations. I'm sure they endured the good times and the bad times. Somehow they stuck it out together. I'm proud of them!

I wish I could say the same for myself....

I always believed in the sacrilege of marriage. The unity of two people together as one against the world. To me, it's a divine partnership.