Monday, December 29, 2008

Oprah's books =strike 2

Oprah's book recommendation of "Angel at the Fence, The True Story of a Love that Survived" turns out not to be all true.
A publisher has canceled a Holocaust memoir with an amazing love story publicized by Oprah Winfrey after the writer admitted he made up parts, putting the book on a growing list of tall tales.

Berkley Books, an imprint of the Penguin Group, said it was canceling "Angel at the Fence, The True Story of a Love that Survived" after receiving new information from writer Herman Rosenblat's agent...

Hurst said Rosenblat's story about being in the concentration camps and the survival of the writer and his brothers was true but the retired electrical contractor from North Miami Beach, Florida, had made up the love story that had won such attention.
Question is, will she publicly denounce it now that it's part fiction?

See Oprah's previous reaction to "A Million Little Pieces."

Note to Oprah: It's literature. Made up or not, who cares? Books are supposed to be entertaining.

Jennings' butterfingers

Jennings will be a free agent come '09.
Greg Jennings doesn't know if he'll get a contract extension this offseason, but the Green Bay Packers wide receiver knows this much: His three dropped passes early in Sunday's 31-21 victory over the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field didn't help his cause.

"That's one thing I'm afraid of — maybe they saw something today that they did not like," Jennings said with a laugh after catching five passes for 101 yards and finishing his second NFL season by leading the team in receptions (80), receiving yards (1,292) and touchdowns (nine).

Jennings, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2009 season, could joke about his drops and his contract — "I'm going up there (to general manager Ted Thompson's office) right after this," he said — because his early butterfinger routine didn't cost his team the game.
If you ask me, we better try to hang on to him.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Marley and Me, the book

Movie review later. I finished Marley and Me just in time to see the movie tomorrow night.

I can't imagine the box of tissues (or boxes) we'll have between the four women, and maybe even two men in my family at the movie theatre tomorrow night. The book alone was enough to make you want a labrador retreiver if you don't have one, or a dog if you're lucky enough to live the lifestyle able to care for one.

Grogan writes with a tenderness that could only be from a pet owner who truly found more of himself as a dog owner than he did before his adventures with Marley.

It's touching and you will laugh -and cry- along with him.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Song

This is undoubtedly the first Dave song I listened to and immediately, genuinely, loved and appreciated.

Merry Christmas

Frozen dog

Poor Jiffy needed some lube.
SHEBOYGAN -- A Sheboygan woman whose dog froze to the sidewalk while left outside in single-digit temperatures has pleaded not guilty to intentionally mistreating animals.

Fifty-nine-year-old Alice Bigler made her initial court appearance Monday on the misdemeanor charge.

Authorities say Bigler left her 120-pound border collie, Jiffy, outside overnight earlier this month when temperatures dipped into the single digits. Police have speculated the overweight dog survived because it was protected by layers of insulating fat.

A criminal complaint says Bigler tried to bring the dog inside, checked on him repeatedly and brought him a blanket.
He probably didn't want to come inside because she was a nut! I'm glad they took him away!


Watching yet another spoiled ending after hearing half-time phrases like "the Packers are playing like the professionals they are," and so forth, I'm a little sick to my stomach.

Perhaps if people- fans and critcs alike- spent less time comparing Aaron Rodgers to Brett Favre, they'd have time too focus on Rodgers' stats and see that he's playing damn well this season. 63% pass completion, 25 touchdowns and 3,730 yards -that's pretty good. He threw for 300 yard sand 3 touchdowns against Carolina a few weeks ago, and still we lost.

Seems to me, it's a testament to our O-line for NOT blocking when he gets sacked or doesn't have any time to find an open man and has to scramble. It's a testament to our D-line for NOT stopping when the opponents charge the field at the end of the game for the game-winning kick.

The difference is when we get inside the red zone, we score field goals, not touchdowns, if that (see Mason Crosby, angry face.) Our opponents convert for 7.
Crosby has now failed to connect on two game-winning field goals this season. He missed from 52 yards last month at the Metrodome. "Obviously, I'm frustrated," Crosby said. "I had a chance to help the team win here and it's really disappointing. I don't like doing these interviews and it sucks this has happened twice this year."
Yeah, sucks for the fans too.

Will Crosby be another Longwell or Derrick Frost?

I suppose we can't blame the kicker...I just wish Rodgers didn't have to take all the heat - or should we say frost in this situation.

Gas Station story

Last night just before the Packers botched another game-ending, I found myself in Fargo in the -8 degree weather, filling up my car with gas.

At the Tesoro station, the sticker on the machine said to insert my credit card one way. It proceeded to stick inside the machine where I could not retrieve it.

By accident in my frustration, I hit this green button, thinking it might be some kind of "eject." Alas, this was not to be the case. A friendly woman then appeared on the overhead voice speaker.

"What do you need, now that you've so conveniently hit the green button calling for help." It was laced in sarcasm.

I was so taken aback by her attitude, I merely responded in-kind that I had made a mistake and perhaps she could readjust her attitude. I said my card was stuck and I was simply trying to get it out.

And here glowing response was simply, "You better get it out."

Thank you. You must really love your job. What a B***H.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

President Bush will miss the staff

C-SPAN's interview with President Bush is so telling of his personality.

I can't help but watch his twinkling eye, see how relaxed and genuine he is, and I want to just blow him tons of kisses as if he'll catch them and maybe wink at me.

I love that in response to the question about what he'll miss about the White House, he said the staff. He will miss the cooks and the men who make his coffee at 5:15 AM and the people who clean. And I bet you, he and Laura are not only on a first-name basis with most of them, but they probably ask and know about their families.

You can't help but enjoy his laid back personality.

Bush's portrait

I couldn't love it more.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Duffy - Oh Boy

I can't get this song out of my head from the silly Nivea commercial.

But it's soulful.

Spark loses it's spark

Take the caffeine out, and what's left of the drink?
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- MillerCoors LLC announced Thursday it will remove caffeine and three other ingredients from its Sparks alcoholic energy drink in a deal with 13 states and the city of San Francisco, who had contended the drink targeted young drinkers.

A coalition of state attorneys general had complained the stimulants reduced drinkers' sense of intoxication and were marketed to young drinkers, who were already more likely to have risky behaviors in driving and other activities.

Attorneys general and advocacy groups have long been targeting MillerCoors, a joint venture of SABMiller's U.S. unit and Molson Coors Brewing Co., and market-leader Anheuser-Busch due to the making and marketing of such drinks.

As part of the agreement, MillerCoors agreed to remove caffeine, taurine, guarana and ginseng from Sparks, the leader in the alcoholic energy drink category, and not produce caffeinated alcohol beverages in the future. The company also will pay $550,000 to cover the cost of the investigation into Sparks.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Libby's got a challenge

Challenger for DPI Superintendent. You go girl!

Political advertising

Interesting article on political advertising in Ad Age. Just food for thought.

TIME's Person of the Year


Couldn't they have surprised us?

The artistry is really starting to bug me.

You better watch out

If your name is Katie Falk.
The unsolved murder of slain University of Wisconsin-Madison student Brittany Zimmermann will be featured by CNN's Nancy Grace on the national news network at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Grace, a legal analyst who has built a reputation for profiling cold cases, will be casting the ongoing Zimmermann investigation into the national spotlight.

Zimmermann was killed in her downtown Madison apartment more than eight months ago on April 2. Since then, Madison police have interviewed numerous suspects, but no one has been charged with the crime.

When contacted by a producer with CNN, Madison Police Department spokesman Joel DeSpain told the network:

"We are working diligently on this case, have generated significant leads, and are making progress."
I cannot imagine her name won't come up in conjunction with the 911 center and the failings of the Madison police department.

Driving in Madison

After a trip out to Mount Horeb before the sunrise, I drove back in to the city at a snail's pace.

Hitting 151 and Midvale even to University was a nightmare. Something about people forgetting how to drive in the snow...
Sgt. Gary Bauer of the Wisconsin State Patrol said major highways were getting better as of 10:30 a.m., but motorists should be careful because conditions can change quickly with the temperature still in the single digits.

Icy walks are causing big problems for pedestrians, said Lori Wirth, public information officer for the Madison Fire Department.

Wirth said emergency crews were sent out on a dozen calls from 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday to help people who had fallen on slick sidewalks.

The injuries weren't life-threatening, but several people had broken arms or legs or back injuries.

"That's a lot of calls," Wirth said. "We had them all over, east side, west side, in mall shopping areas, wherever people were.

"And considering all the other people who probably fell and didn't call, we want to remind people to be extra-special careful."

While roads in southern Wisconsin were improving, reports of accidents and roll-offs were still coming in to the 911 dispatch center as of 10:30 a.m.
Where are all the plows?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bushes to move to Dallas

Where at least their neighbors will welcome them.
Christine Tomasides, a mother of two and corporate contract writer who lives a half-block from the home, said she knew something was up about a month ago when black SUVs began rolling into the neighborhood. Secret Service agents often use such vehicles.

"It all makes sense now," Tomasides said.

She described the neighborhood as peaceful, quiet and a place where people stay out of each other's business. She said she'd never seen as much traffic as there was on the street Thursday. Tomasides welcomed her new neighbors — and the heightened security they'll bring.

"Laura Bush seems like such a fine person, and I can't imagine anyone not wanting her as a neighbor," Tomasides said. "And him, too, regardless of your political affiliation."
Warm and fuzzy.

Ahh, hope for (Climate) change

They're going to band together, the politicians, that is.
After a year in which it nearly lost its compass, the campaign against climate change heads into 2009 needing top-level political commitment, creative thinking and a deep well of money.

Next year holds a big dream: by its end, the world will have forged a treaty in Copenhagen to shrink global warming from mankind-threatening juggernaut to manageable problem.
And make new decisions.

And boy do they seem optimistic:
British economist Nicholas Stern, author of the 2006 Stern Review on the costs of climate change, said 2009 demanded boldness.

The world had the chance to make a historic shift, he argued in Poznan.

"We can actually lay the foundations over the next two years for the low-carbon growth which will be the sustaining growth of the future," Stern said.

But, he added: "I don't take any of this for granted. The human race has an incredibly well developed capacity to screw up, and we may miss this chance."

Talk about Balls

Blagojevich isn't afraid of the law.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich doesn’t plan to resign tomorrow, a spokesman said, contradicting speculation by the state’s attorney general that the governor might quit in response to federal corruption charges.

“Not true -- the Gov has no plans of resigning tomorrow,” Lucio Guerrero, a spokesman for Democrat Blagojevich, said today in an e-mailed statement.

Blagojevich, 52, has ignored calls to resign since his Dec. 9 arrest at his Chicago home for what U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald called “a political corruption crime spree.” The governor and his former chief of staff, John Harris, 46, were accused of attempting to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat, soliciting bribes and trying to pressure the Chicago Tribune to halt critical editorials.

I think this calls for a "I WILL NOT YIELD!"

Pack falls again

We just can't finish strong.
It’s over. Eleven months after they played in the NFC championship game, the Green Bay Packers were eliminated from playoff contention with a 20-16 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon.

The Packers (5-9) will finish third in the NFC North Division. In order to make the NFC playoffs, they needed to win their last three games and have Minnesota lose its last three games and Chicago lose its last two games.
Boo. I suppose I'm glad I wasn't home to witness it.

Translation = Rebuilding year!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My one Grinch moment

I love all things Christmas. Trees, cookies, baking cookies, Christmas music, Christmas movies, snow, cookies, snow angels, snow men, giving, red and green, bells, cookies, and so forth.

But I do have a Grinch moment anytime the Chestnuts song comes on. Yes, it's dubbed "The Christmas Song" and encompasses all things Christmas I suppose and everyone just gushes and "loves" that song- all kids from 1 to 92 - but really people.

Chestnuts? I have yet to meet a real chestnut-roasting person. Sorry Torme and Wells, but your song puts me to sleep.

While I think that may be the only lyric that I dislike, it's also the tune, and it's on EVERY SINGLE CHRISTMAS CD I CAN FIND!! I will praise an artist for leaving that song off their holiday collection, when I do finally find that singer.

For now, I'll skip it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kiefer Sutherland attacks Christmas tree

I find this...very unlike Jack Bauer. And yet, humorous.

Remember: Jack Bauer never retreats, he just attacks in the opposite direction.


Must they call him "Blago"?

Donald Driver's children's book

Donald Driver: Receiver, touchdown deliverer, philanthropist, family man, eye candy, and now author.

I want to read about Quickie making the team. Check the man out! I mean, the book.

Rising bus fares

If anyone asks, he said 2 "doll-hairs."
In the fall, Cieslewicz proposed raising Metro Transit cash fares 50 cents to $2 and making related increases for ticket packages and passes to raise at least $680,000 in nine months next year to improve service, add security at transfer points, boost marketing, build a reserve and cover shortfalls.

The council last month voted 12-8 to support the proposal in the 2009 budget.

"There's no political advantage to me to raise fares," Cieslewicz said, adding that he and 12 council members want to do so because "it's the best thing to do for Metro in the long-run."

But from the start, many riders opposed the increase and TPC members voiced concern that a fare hike would hurt low-income families and curb ridership. Now, Cieslewicz wants the Metro staff to prepare a list of service cuts for consideration at the TPC's next meeting, and respond to an alternative analysis on the impact of a fare increase presented at Tuesday's meeting by TPC member and Ald. Brian Solomon.

The alternative analysis, based on American Public Transit Association research, said the fare increase might produce far less revenue and hurt ridership more than the Metro staff projected.

But the mayor said the TPC's decision was at least partly based on "very thin data brought in at the last minute." He also sent a memo about his intentions to council members.
Service cuts, my rear! Cieslewicz is right about the no-political advantage thing, but I doubt he's got his trimming shears out.

Those poor curb riders.

Ryan crosses the line

I know I'm chiming in late on this (I've been slow on the uptake in all areas of my life lately), but Congressman Paul Ryan has some 'splaining to do.'
"It is clear that the mounting hardships throughout Southern Wisconsin have been downright gut-wrenching. In addition to the imminent closure of the GM plant in my hometown of Janesville and mass layoffs elsewhere, hard-working Wisconsinites are finding it increasingly difficult during this recession to cope with strained credit markets, rising health care costs, and making their monthly mortgage payments.

"The American automotive industry is under considerable distress, and various proposals have been put forth to provide aid to those in need. I've maintained that any assistance to the domestic auto industry should be drawn from previously approved funds from a U.S. Department of Energy loan package, rather than divert resources from the financial rescue package or rely on additional taxpayer dollars. H.R. 7321 cuts through the bureaucratic red tape and expedites these previously appropriated funds. Because no additional taxpayer dollars were appropriated, I was able to support this legislation.

"At the forefront of my mind are jobs in Southern Wisconsin and the retiree commitments to workers that could be placed in jeopardy under certain bankruptcy scenarios. To be clear, this bill is not intended to save the American auto industry and makes no guarantees that layoffs in this industry will end. Congress must stop overselling what it can do. At the very least, I am hopeful that by extending these loans to the American auto manufacturers, bankruptcy will be avoided in the near term and protections for retirees will remain intact."
Would he be as concerned if the heart of his district, his own hometown, weren't full of GM plant-centered blue collar voters?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Where will the money come from?

Obama's plan:
President-elect Barack Obama said he’ll make the “single largest new investment” in roads, bridges and public buildings since the Eisenhower Administration to lift the sagging economy and create jobs.

Obama, in his weekly radio speech today, said his plan to create or preserve 2.5 million jobs will also include making public buildings more energy efficient, repairing schools and modernizing health care with electronic medical records.

“We won’t just throw money at the problem,” he said. “We’ll measure progress by the reforms we make and the results we achieve -- by the jobs we create, by the energy we save, by whether America is more competitive in the world.”
Sure sounds like we're just throwing money at the problem.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

Ford to sell Volvo?

I can't say I wouldn't mind this.
Ford Motor Co., which with the rest of the Detroit automakers is readying a plan to take to Congress this week to win a federal loan, said today it "will re-evaluate strategic options for Volvo Car Corp., including the possible sale" of the premium automaker. Ford said it will take several months to review Volvo's options.

Given the unprecedented external challenges facing Ford and the entire industry, it is prudent for Ford to evaluate options for Volvo," President-CEO Alan Mulally said in a prepared statement. "Volvo is a strong global brand with a proud heritage of safety and environmental responsibility and has launched an aggressive plan to right-size its operations and improve its financial results."
Already Volvo's parent company, Ford could benefit from this, I believe. I trust both brands, having grown up in a house eventually acquiring a 11 Ford vehicle history...yes, we even had a Bronco at one point.

Trading in my own Explorer for a Volvo two years ago, I still trust I'm in good hands - even with the Swedes.

But it'd be nice to go to any Ford dealer for an oil change instead of tracking down the rarer Volvo shops (since no one has my stinkin' filter!), and visit with the well-trusted mechanics of Ford. They're good to me, what can I say?

I think it's an interesting option.

Condi tickles the ivories

Yes, for the Queen of England.
Top US diplomat Condoleezza Rice took time out from her busy diplomatic schedule Monday to play a little piano -- in the form of a recital at Buckingham Palace for Queen Elizabeth II, royal officials said.
The secretary of state, in London for talks with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, was accompanied in her performance of Brahms by Foreign Secretary David Miliband's wife Louise, and three members of the London Symphony Orchestra.

Rice is an accomplished pianist who started playing when she was a child.

A palace spokeswoman told AFP that Rice "expressed a wish to play at Buckingham Palace and the queen offered her to play in the music room."

The queen listened to part of the private performance and afterwards, presented Rice with a recording of the recital as a present.
Can you say "Bad ass!!!"

Trees for Troops

We need more do-gooders in the world.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- About 16,000 Christmas trees are headed for military bases around the country beginning Tuesday - hundreds of them donated by Wisconsin growers.

Six northeastern Wisconsin growers loaded a FedEx van with about 250 balsam firs, Douglas firs, white pines and other evergreens at Lambeau Field Monday. The trees are headed for Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home to the 101st Airborne Division.

From there, the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation will distribute the trees to troops stationed overseas. Most will be sent to bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wisconsin growers donate a total of about 500 trees. About 750 growers nationwide participate in the Trees for Troops program.
Green Bay story here.

Brittany Zimmerman and family deserve more personal apology

Forty-eight minutes.

That's how much time passed between the mishandled 911 call from Brittany Zimmermann's phone and when Madison police were sent to her West Doty Street apartment to find her brutally murdered on April 2, investigators reveal in previously sealed court documents obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal.

The length of the delay wasn't publicly known before because officials have refused to provide specifics.

The new details focus the spotlight once again on the questions Dane County officials haven't answered, despite months of controversy over errors at the 911 center.
Read the rest. But I'd say it was sorely mishandled.

No regrets

I wish President Bush wouldn't feel pressure to say things like this.
On the war in Iraq, Bush said the biggest regret of his presidency was the "intelligence failure" regarding the extent of the Saddam Hussein threat to the United States. With the support of Congress, Bush ordered the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 — a decision largely justified on grounds — later proved false — that Saddam was building weapons of mass destruction.

Asked if he would have ordered the U.S.-led invasion if intelligence reports had accurately indicated that Saddam did not have the weapons, Bush replied: "You know, that's an interesting question. That is a do-over that I can't do. It's hard for me to speculate."
We'll never know for sure if he didn't have WMD. And why would we take any chances with that crazy lunatic?

To quote Beauty and the Beast, "If you're not with us, you're against us!"