Saturday, April 12, 2008
Beer Production Threatened By Climate Change
According to New Zealand climatologist Jim Salinger, climate change may result in reduced malted barley, which would limit beer production. What do you think?
"Very clever, ‘Dr. Salinger,’ or should I say, Al Gore!"
"Could this limit the ability of my neighbor to brew his own beer, discuss brewing his own beer, boast about his talent for brewing beer, and browbeat his neighbors into trying his beer? Because in that case this could be a good thing."
"Doesn't affect me. I was born a butterscotch-schnapps man, and I'll die a butterscotch-schnapps man."
"Blind Orange" Julius,
"I didn't know my neighbor's name was Hans."
Labels: Stuff From The Onion
After frantic calculations I discovered that I owed a dollar. One dollar! I promptly wrote a check, I so wanted to staple a dollar bill to my tax form, but figured that the delay in my payment as the IRS figured out what to do with actual cash might cause the US Government great financial harm. It was a dollar the the Feds were looking for and them not getting it my have thrown our country into chaos. CHAOS I tell you!
So this year I did my taxes a little bit earlier. On Thursday I sat down at the computer and thought "hey, I should do my taxes." TurboTax has a Federal Free program that will do your federal taxes for, well for free. Having lived all of 2007 in Wyoming, I didn't have to file a state return, so my tax preparation would be entirely free.
So I plugged the appropriate numbers into TurboTax and found that I'd be receiving $54. Plus I'll be getting $600 later (by my SSN, I'm in the first group to get a check) that I'm morally bound to spend immediately to stimulate the economy. Do I still get this now that I'm a bank and not a simple private citizen? If I have to choose between $600 and the Billions that banks are getting in these tough economic times, I have a pretty good idea which I'll choose...
...yes, I'm still a bank, no, I won't actually lend you money...
Friday, April 11, 2008
Sue Foley Video Friday
Labels: Sue Foley Photo Friday
Kames was 'Chicken Dance' King
If Bob Kames wasn't Milwaukee's own music man, it wasn't for lack of trying.Kames was, after all, the man credited with the modern-day version of "Dance Little Bird," better known as "The Chicken Dance." He operated his Bob Kames Wonderful World of Music stores here for 42 years. He performed professionally, including a stint with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra. He produced his own television specials and recorded more than 70 albums.
Kames, who had struggled with Alzheimer's disease in recent years, died Wednesday of prostate cancer. He was 82.
He was born Robert Kujawa, the son of a south side alderman, Valentine Kujawa, and Esther Kujawa. He began playing the piano at 12. As a teenager, he started working for 25 cents an hour as an usher at a south side theater. He had just been named manager of the old Warner Brothers Theater when he got a draft notice from the U.S. Army.
He was serving for about a year when a chaplain heard him playing the piano at a Red Cross center at Fort Sheridan, Ill. The chaplain asked if he could play the organ.
The young private didn't know but thought he could.
That was how Kujawa got his first real gig, becoming a chapel organist and the chaplain's full-time assistant.
"He got the name 'Kames' when the announcer on Armed Forces Radio couldn't pronounce Kujawa," said his son, Bob Kames Jr.
"It's now time for the musical refrains of Bob Kames," the announcer finally said.
"That's your new name," he later told Kujawa.
Kames began playing for the troops, too, including as accompanist for a USO dancer named Edith Campbell in 1945.
"My dad really messed up her routine - he never was a real good sight-reader," Bob Jr. said.
A few things happened in the years after the war. Kujawa, a.k.a. Kames, returned home and used his mustering out pay for a down payment on a Hammond organ. He also continued to work independently, as did Campbell, who had danced into his heart.
In 1949, he composed a pop tune, calling it, "You Are My One True Love," based on a Polish folk song. Turned down by major labels, he released it through a local record company, paying for the first 5,000 records himself.
It was picked up by London Records in England, becoming a huge hit.
"He wrote that for her," Bob Jr. said. "It was a million-seller. Lawrence Welk recorded it and Frankie Yankovic . . . and others."
The couple finally married in 1955. While their legal name remained Kujawa, they were known to most as Bob and Edith Kames.
Kames went on to make his "Happy Organ" and other albums. In 1966, he produced his first television show, "The Bob Kames Family Room," and other specials followed over the next 17 years. Guests included Lawrence Welk, Hildegarde, Frankie Yankovic, Bobby Vinton and Don Ho. He also performed at Summerfest, Festa Italiana, Polish Fest, Rainbow Summer and other venues.
"If you limit your experiences, you limit your successes - and he had plenty of them on both ends," said Michael Drake, a local composer, performer and friend. Drake serves on the board for the Bob Kames Foundation, which provides grants and scholarships for music education. "He will be remembered for his genuine love for people and music."
Time with family
In the mid-1960s, Kames became gravely ill with stomach ulcers, and doctors told him that he was bleeding to death. His stomach was entirely removed."As I lay there thinking about my life, it occurred to me that I hadn't spent much time with my kids," he said in 1968. "I decided to change things, if I lived, and among other things, take them to Disneyland."
Ever the music man, the trip inspired Kames to record "It's a Small World."
"He was one of the first non-Disney people to record that song," Bob Jr. said. "My dad was never shy. He caught up with Walt Disney right on the grounds and bugged the living bejesus out of him until he sat down with my dad. I remember sitting in a room with Walt Disney and my dad, and he got Disney's permission to record the song."
As for that "Chicken Dance," even a self-promoter like Kames couldn't quite believe how it caught on.
His record producer heard the song at a German music fair in 1982 and shipped it right off to Kames, who recorded his version the same week.
"This stupid little thing, it's infectious," Kames said, speaking in 1995. "It has only two chords, it doesn't even change for the bridge. It implants the melody in people's minds - it just sticks in there. That's gotta be the secret.
"It just keeps on going. People come up to me at jobs and tell me how happy it makes them," Kames said. "You get a song like this once in a lifetime."
His wife, Edith, died in 2005. Survivors also include son John and grandchildren. A daughter, Barbara, died earlier.
Visitation will be from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Krause Funeral Home, 12401 W. National Ave., New Berlin. A prayer service will be held at 5 p.m.
A brief visitation is tentatively scheduled for 10 to 11 a.m. Monday at St. Mary's Catholic Faith Community, 9520 W. Forest Home Ave., Hales Corners. The service is expected to follow that visitation.
Memorials are suggested to the Bob Kames Foundation, 4415 W. Forest Home Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53219. More information about the foundation is available at www.bobkamesfoundation.org.
... an American Hero gone...
Monday, April 07, 2008
Since the engine was replaced by my father in the summer of 2006, the "Check Engine" lite has stayed on. That automatically disqualifies me from emissions testing, the car won't pass. Additionally the car started smoking during the emissions testing, oil smoke coming from under the hood. That also made passing impossible.
The bottom line is that my car passed emissions. As a bonus, I understand my car a little bit better now. Plus it gets better gas mileage. And it's all thanks to Windsor Auto Repair. Conveniently located near la güera's house.
Friday, April 04, 2008
All Hail the MWUF!
The photo I see daily when I get off of the elevator is of a facility that The Empire calls the "Midwest Uplink Facility" or MWUF, a collection and uplink facility for the Midwest region of the United States, rebroadcasting local TV stations into the homes of people who subscribe to The Empire's satellite service. In a previous life, though, it was the home of a seperate company known as USSB, and was a facility that I worked at from early 1997 until the middle of 1999 when The Empire's purchase purchase of USSB was final. That started my first stint with The Empire. Being hired by USSB started my career in the world of multi-channel television.
Multi-channel had a different meaning then, at our height, USSB uplinked 28 channels on 5 transponders. Today, there are multiple orbital slots and over 1600 channels are handled by the service. In 1997, that number was simply inconceivable. Today it's become commonplace.
I look at the photo and think. I see the radome for the uplink dishes, the parking lot that was the site of many a a late night basketball game. The three point line (yes, we had one) is gone now, former employees have moved on to other pursuits. Some are undoubtedly out of the business, most are out of this end of the business. Only a six of us moved on to California with the sale. And with that, "Blind Orange" Julius has divulged his secret identity, I am, in reality, Foster Fitz from Newtown, ND.
OK, I'm not really, but it does narrow it down some...
Labels: Sue Foley Photo Friday
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Stop Making Movies About My Books
By Dr. Seuss
April 2, 2008 | Issue 44•14
On the fourteenth of March, in towns nationwide,
In every cinema, multiplex, on every barnside,
Gleamed another adapting of one of my books,
CGI-ed and digitized by another sly crook.
Horton, my favorite—look how he's been treated!
Stuffed with tinsels and tassels and promptly excreted!
The puns! And the filler! The script fees you must save!
While I tumble and grum-humble around in my grave.
Did you learn all but squat from The Cat In The Hat?
Please tell me you fired the prick who made that.
I would have stopped writing, maybe sold Goodyear tires.
If I knew one dark day I'd costar with Mike Myers.
Oh, dear! Oh!
My poor Grinch, what they've done!
They crammed in live-action and snuffed out all the fun!
It's icky, it's tacky, it's awkward, it's wrong.
The Whos look like ferrets, it's an hour too long.
What a rotten idea to spend millions destroying
This masterful tale kids spent decades enjoying!
But still you keep making them!
Just how do you dare?
Sell my life's work off piecemeal
To every Tom, Dick, and Har'.
Why it's simply an outrage—a crime, you must judge!—
To crap on my books with this big-budget sludge.
My books are for children to learn ones and twos in,
Not commercialous slop for Jim Carrey to ruin.
Have you no respect for the gems of your youth?
To pervert them on screen from Taiwan to Duluth.
Even after you drag my last word through the dirt,
I know you, you pirates,
You'd cut out my heart for a "Thing 1" T-shirt.
For eighty-some years I held you vultures at bay,
knowing just how you'd franchise my good name some day.
Not yet cold in my grave before you starting shooting
the first of my classics you'd acquired for looting.
Mrs. Seuss, that old stoofus, began selling more rights
to Dreamworks, Universal—any hack in her sights.
First The Cat In The Hat and then this, that and Seussical
without a thought to be picky, selectish, or choosical.
So to Audrey, you whore, you sad sack of a wife:
Listen close. Pay attention, for once in your life.
You give Fox In Sox to those sharks who made Elf
And so help me, I'll rise up and kill you myself.
No Sneetches by Sony—
No One Fish: On Ice—
Burn that Hop On Pop II script not one time but twice.
Don't sex up my prose with Alyssa Milano…
And no Green Eggs And Ham with that one-note Romano!
This must stop! This must end! Don't you see what you're doing?
You're defiling the work I spent ages accruing.
And when it's dried up and you've sucked out your pay
There'll be no going back to a simpler day,
When your mom would give Horton a voice extra deep,
And turn the last page as you drifted to sleep.
Instead you'll have boxed sets, shit movies, and… well,
You'll have plenty to watch while you're burning in hell.
I know it's a comedy piece, but everyone in Hollywood (even the hookers) need to read this and think about it before they green light the next Seuss property.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
And yesterday, on the way to work, it went over 100,000 miles.
The exact spot where it acheived this milestone is marked on my GPS and is immortalized on Google Earth. Not that I need either of those to remember it, I drive by that spot twice a day five days a week.
I wonder where I'll be when it goes over 200,000 miles?