Sunday, December 11, 2011

A couple of things I have to remember

1) Mike Finnigan, one of the best guys to drive a cab. He's dead of course, like so many cab drivers I once knew. Jesus, I must be getting old. Duane Holloway is also dead, he came here from Key West and drove for around 15 years. Any how........ We're out at the airport, and Mike is driving one of the mini vans as usual. He starts talking about bringing a load of scientists from the Physics Lab in Stoughton to the airport and charging them individual fares (highway robbery!!!). Then he chuckles and says, "Those Canadians tip good too."

2) The Essen Haus has always been a good place to troll for drunks. I'm parked at the end of the awning, and here comes Mike the door man and Neil the guy who always wares the German leather short pants, struggling with this guy who they throw on the pavement right next to the cab. The guy gets up and asks for a ride, and I say ok. He gets in and he's really pissed off. Turns out that he had a 1/2 stein of beer when he went in to the john to take a whiz. When he got back to the bar, he had a full stein, but they had a pitcher so he didn't think anything of it. He starts sipping on his beer and his room mate is laughing his ass off. His room mate continues to laugh his ass off and he finally asks what's so funny. His room mate tells him that he pissed in his beer to bring it up to full. Of course he's not amused.

Know what pissed him off the most? They didn't kick his room mate out, so he can't kick the shit out of his room mate. He bitched all the way to Langdon st., but he tipped well.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I saw Lefty in the grocery store.

First...... I was lucky. I'm here for another month. GOD was/am I lucky, but I'll get into that later.

Lefty and I talked for 5 or 10 minutes. It was good to see him. Nice guy, he wanted to say hi, but he didn't really want to listen to me rant about the company. From what he said, I'm wondering when the company goes up for sale publicly. Not that the company is broke or anything, but the owner is old enough and wealthy enough to get out. It's a sole ownership, so if they got a lunatic that did something 'newsworthy' with a cab, lawyers would be going after him. Yeah, he's got insurance but it's not cheap. I'm fairly sure that if someone offered him close to his price, he'd get out.

Lefty is a real good guy, I hope his life goes well, and I'll miss him. Most of the others don't realize what thin ice they're standing on. How so? Well..........

The company is in a growing market, but it's not growing. They spend almost NOTHING on sales. One of the reasons I was considered a trouble maker was I would suggest that effort be spent on new business. I was told, by the owner, that accepting plastic was the great move to drum up new business. No, I'm not kidding. That said............

They lost M+, I just found that out. They are losing almost all the rest of the MA (medical assistance) rides soon. They can barely keep 20 cabs out on week daytime hours. Roy Boy knew I'd be critical, and he knew this was coming 16-18 months ago, I think. (I'm very sure) So, all the loyal, ride it down in flames crowd, will end up abandoned. I wonder what that fat idiot who started the argument in the office will do for a living. The dispatchers will all go down the road, and who wants to add them to the staff at another company in town? Nobody, those jobs go to loyal drivers.

Thanks Roy. I know you only wanted to cover your butt, and you probably promised yourself that someday you'd fire me before you retired. Ok, you kept your promise to yourself. Now, guess what? When you get finished going down with the ship, you're unemployable too, and nobody is going to care. How many loyal friends did you shaft for that end? Idiot.

That's ok. I believed you were my friend. I'm an idiot too.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A great line

"On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero." Told you it was great!

I have to move, AGAIN. It's not my fault, some things aren't anybody's fault, it's just the way something works out. I have high hopes, that the new digs will be an improvement. The dog just rolls his eyes and moans........................ He hates to move more than I do.

Slick Willy made one of the most astute comments ever made by a public figure in the United States, life isn't fair. I told the dog that, and he again rolled his eyes and moaned. I can turn that behavior off with a dog biscuit. Wish I could ping myself into the new digs with a dog biscuit.

The new digs will be about a block from one of America's greatest tourist lakes. If somebody had asked me if it was the coolest place on earth to live when I was 8, I probably would have said yes, and even said yes including winter in Wisconsin. So life will change a little.

I doubt I will ever again hit one of those writers groups after this coming Tuesday. Which is ok, the guy who runs the group would rather I didn't come anyway. He's a retired mailman, and he asked me why anybody would find a book about cab driving interesting anyway. After all, he has dozens of dog chases mailman stories. What would I call a book of cab driving stories anyway?

This bothered me a lot. Discouraged me greatly. Then it occurred to me that it isn't so much that he thinks the idea of a book of cab driving stories is dumb, he's jealous. Jealous of what? The world is full of stories, some of them are first person experiences, some of them are simply made up, most of them are out there in front of us, and we watch them happen every day.

Well, let's see..... I could say it's procedural. We have procedural cop opera's, how many dominate prime time? A bunch. We have story TV, stuff like 60 Minutes, and that's been popular. could we have mailman adventure? Sure. We had (have) a mailman, he's been a cab driver for over 20 years, as well as a mailman. We HAD another mailman, but he escaped, Opie is a mailman to this day, and he doesn't drive cab anymore.

Our mailman has had his ups and downs. Armed robbery is again a theme. He was a day driver when I started. He must have a hell of a mailman pension coming, he'd been a mailman for a while back then. Anyhow, like many of us, me included, he got greedy and decided nights was the time to drive. Then he got robbed. I don't know the details of that one, but I do know that it showed on his face for years, and that his wife said no more driving nights. And that stuck for a long time, perhaps 10 years. He's a night driver these days to the best of my knowledge. For YEARS I could see it on his face.

People who do stuff like that don't see it that way. They only see it from their own perspective. When the robbery is over, the robber is done with it, he's off work, and it's time to think about grocery shopping or otherwise spending the money.

Part of me thinks society is way too soft. There should be consequences for doing things like that. Consequences? Yes, consequences.

A couple of poor under privileged minority youth with a knife or something that looks (either is or isn't real) like a gun shouldn't have free rein to crap on some fairly innocent middle class guy who is simply trying to pay his mortgage. They don't have free rein? There are laws.... Yeah, right. They don't care if they get caught, they're young, they don't have anything to lose except a few hours of their time, and if they succeed they're hero's to their friends. The system almost forces them to do stuff like that.

And the cab company, what do they do about it? What would I have them do? I'm not sure. I do know this, the few of us who win such little incidents (regardless of the psychological effects of simply being in the situation) seem to leave for one reason or another.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

too funny

This is perhaps the funniest thing I've ever seen on the internet. Do watch the whole thing too, it looks like the same prank over and over, but it isn't. The second prank is much funnier than the first prank, and the first prank is pretty funny.

I'm not sure how many of my readers have ever used a portable john, I try to avoid them myself, they always stink. I do have a personal funny porta john story though....

When I first visited Wisconsin, a friend and I were hitch hiking. The end of the trip was East Lansing, my traveling companion was a Michigan State student. The plan was to take the car ferry from Milwaukee to Luddington, which we did (it is Sooooooooooooo cold on Lake Michigan in the middle of the night). Some guy gave us a ride out of Luddington, so there we were standing by a 2 lane highway just outside of town at about 5 in the morning. Who should pull over but a guy pumping out porta johns. He was heading to Lansing too, said we'd get there about noon. So we spent the last morning of our trip riding to every little town fair, and construction site that had a porta john. He'd get out, hook up the pump, run it for about 3 minutes, and toss in a roll of toilet paper.

When was the last time you got a ride in a truck pumping out porta johns?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A new muddy trail

The dog and I went walking in the woods today. Nice walk too. Terribly muddy place. We ran into a half dozen guys, laying oak planks on the ground, they said they were building a bike trail.

Where we stay, we're kind of half way between an overbuilt "up north" lake, and that trail. It made me think about being a kid, and going up north. When I was a kid, up north was a place called Skidway Lake. Skidway Lake is actually a lake, but more than that, it's a hand full of lakes with a couple of church's, a hardware store, grocery......... My grandfather's sister and her family lived there. When I was a kid, there was no place as good as up north.

This town has a bunch of art gallery's, some bar's (they all serve food), some eateries that don't serve booze, a golf course, and an incredibly overbuilt lake area. I've never seen the lake up close without ice on it, that's coming up in less than a month.

By overbuilt, I mean there are 700 square foot houses on tiny plots of less than 2,000 square feet in some places. Picture being able to reach out the window and touch the house next door. It's not quite that bad, but close. In other places, there are million dollar homes on plots of land measured in acres, some on high ground that are seriously impressive. Why would anybody want most of them? By them, I mean the extremes, the low end and high end. Beats me. Much as I love a lake area, a dinky little shack that's 8 houses away from the water, and so close to the neighbors you can hear the alarm clock go off doesn't sound too great. Nor does a mansion where the tax's are measured in thousands per month, when it's less than a quarter mile from the shacks, and everyone shares that same little bit of water with the millions of motor boats on it. And if I wouldn't want the mansions at any price, I have to confess, it's a lake I wouldn't want a cottage on.

BUT......... if I was a kid.......

It's so congested that there would for sure be other kids. So, if I was a grandparent, and I wanted to have the greatest cottage up north for my grandkids, it would indeed make sense to have one of the shacks. When I was a kid, up north was great, but on weekends it got better when the few other kids came to the lake. That lake from my past was driving distance from the factories that made General Motors cars, and one way or another, that was the source of the money that supported those cottages up north.

That bike/walking/skiing trail that heads south away from town, is mostly for adults, but if I was a kid here, I'd know it like the back of my hand too. Why? That stream that flows through there has to have bass, pike, and probably walleye's. When I was a kid, I'd walk 5 miles one way, to sit next to a bug infested stream and try to catch a couple of 9 inch brook trout. Lunacy, right? My father certainly thought so. This afternoon, the dog and I, while getting covered with mud, ran into the mountain bike guys. They were out shagging oak planks out into the woods along side that stream.

Up north hasn't changed much in 50 years. It never made much sense. My dad never could understand it. I guess I've matured, it doesn't make sense to me anymore either. But I must admit, it's a great place to get covered with mud on a spring afternoon.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mars Hopper

I'm not sure why I was thinking about the guy, he's pretty much been gone for quite a while.

He got cut up in a robbery. Back then, many of the Dodge Diplomats had cloth seats. I got to drive the cab with his blood all over the cloth seat for months. I never liked it, but the company couldn't care less, so there was no point in complaining.

How would you like driving a cab with your friends blood staining the drivers seat? Not a trivial amount either, a lot of blood.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The bagel incident

For the first year, I cringed every time anything happened. I was sure I'd get in trouble. People play this too. If I had ten bucks for every time some random stranger told me they were going to have my job, or otherwise hurt me significantly, and do it over just about nothing, I'd go and put a down payment on a house.

There used to be a regular Saturday morning delivery that went from Bagels Forever to someplace, and I liked doing it because I could get some cream cheese and bagels for me too. Bagels is on a little rise around a slight curve. Meaning? It's parking lot is a dangerous one to pull into and out of.

I parked in a marked parking place. It would have been possible to veer off University ave., up into the lot and broadside the cab, but anybody doing so would have gotten a ticket. I'm waiting inside for bagels, and this guy comes charging through the door and demands, "Who is driving that cab."

I told him I was. He shrieked, "Do you know what you're doing to traffic patterns out there?"

I replied that I was a cab driver, and didn't care what I was doing to cab patterns.

This guy was one of the very first people to call up and demand that I be fired. Henceforth, I was a little cagier about what I said, but his problem was he needed to scream at somebody on a Saturday morning, and I happened to be available. Since I didn't ask if I could lick the toe of his shoe, he decided he needed more, and come Monday morning, he had to take 10 minutes away from playing solitaire on the computer on his desk to see if he could get one of his inferiors injured.

Why wasn't he in the middle of that earthquake the other day....... Gee, there is no justice.

I'm glad I found a note I wrote to myself about this one.

The capital, politics, and a really great quote

It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from it's government.

Thomas Paine

Lately, the state capital has been a very public circus. I didn't care too much who got elected when the election for Governor happened. Most of us here in Wisconsin didn't care too much. We've had a few really popular republicans, Tommy Thompson was soooooo popular. People liked Dreyfus. Most of us here in Wisconsin didn't know much about Walker, so a lot of us didn't show up at the polls to vote against him. Vote against him? Yeah, pathetic isn't it?

So now, Mr. Walker is a national figure in less than 6 months. Did he do this for us, the people of Wisconsin? No. He did it so he can run for Senator, or President. Particularly President. Obama isn't that popular, and the world has "issues", so a bunch of republicans are thinking about who's going to beat him in the election coming up.

Do I want someone who did 'this' to the state of Wisconsin, just so he could make his bones as a national political figure, in the White House? No. Hopefully, the rest of America will think of it the same way and come to the same conclusion. Regrettably, this would mean we'd be stuck with that jerk for an open ended period of time, but for America, this patriot could live with him rather than see him screw up the entire country for his own personal gain.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Joe Butterfly's

One of my driver friends had 3 dogs, now she only has 2. Joey is gone. I stopped by her house yesterday to say hi, it'd been a while. We, she and I and our 3 dogs, went out to Governor's Island for a walk around it. She's a night driver, and she needed to get ready for work so it had to be a fairly quick walk.

The 3 dogs were Betty Lou and Angelo, her dogs. And Gromit, my dog. Like all dogs, they love the island. It's a great place to walk, be a dog, watch birds..... It's a great place.

Joe was an English Spaniel, I think.... English retriever..... He was a tan dog, weighed around 30 pounds, and had floppy ears. He was a real nice pup. They don't come to the dog park much any more, and I don't either, but that's where I met Joe and Betty Lou. A matched pair of hunting dogs. Bet they've never been hunting, but most dogs never have been, that's not special.

Joe loved to chase butterfly's. It was really cute to watch too. Very much like watching a small child chase them. He was a really really good pup. We will all fondly remember him, I will anyway.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The old German woman

I saw a reference to her, and to the famous Don. So, I'll tell you about her.

The famous Don, another time.

She and some other real old German folks got into the cab for an airport ride. I don't recall if it was to or from the airport, but there were 3 or 4 people in the party, and it went from this really old farm house out at the corner of Cottage Grove and Atwood.

There were huge trees, and the whole place was generally speaking, over grown. I'd seen her before, and I'd probably seen her companions too. I'm guessing they were 75 - 85 years old. It was an 1800's farm that had probably been a working farm until the 60's or 70's. I didn't think much of it, but I did remember her for some reason.

Then about 6 or 7 years ago, I had her again, and she went to an old folks home. I learned a little bit about her. He fled Germany when she was 8th or 9th grade. Her kids wanted to develop the farmstead so they took her out of her house, told her she couldn't live there, and were waiting for her to sign off on developing it or die, which ever came first.

I asked her if she liked her old folks home. She shrugged. I went and asked a friend about taking care of this woman. It would have worked out for my friend, the old woman, me, everybody except her kids. She told me if I cut my hair she'd discuss it, other wise not. I looked at her and said to myself, she's crazy.

She probably had no intention of discussing it. Just an elderly ass hole doing her little part for making the world like she wanted it, no long hair. Woo hoo. What a moron. But perhaps not, she might have simply loved that assisted living place, it wasn't cheap.

Mean while, her kids developed the place. 7 or 8 years later they still have condo's for sale, want to buy one? No? Gee, why not? Doesn't money grow on trees? Nah, the trees are gone, the first thing they did was knock them down. Just another brick in the wall.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

you must check these blogs out

The 3rd one reminds me of these 3 girls I drove past once at the corner of State and Lake. They were on the sidewalk on the Library Mall side of Lake, and they were doubled over with their drawers pulled down. Mooning State street. Must have been graduating.

All are cute. The photo at the top of the 3rd one is a classic.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The journy is the destination

How did I get here anyway?

When I was young, I took a number of trips, where the trip was more important than the destination. The road trip through Key West to New Orleans. The walk about from central Michigan around Lake Superior to Winnipeg, through Fargo and the cities, to here and back to East Lansing...............................

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Yesterday was a great day

I saw a few of the old crowd. It was great. Almost like going back 25 years in time. Kev, Eric, Amy, Andrea, Bob, Doug, Jeff............................. I need to get out more.

After all these years, I now know how to tell Doug and Bob apart. Doug is the guy on the left. There are other small differences, I'll get to know them on sight now that I've made a start on it.

The last twins I knew were Mark and Steve. I was told they looked nothing alike, and after I got to know them well, I agreed. Before I knew them well, how did I tell them apart? Steve has one eye which is half green, half brown. Steve is the lawyer, Mark is the doctor. Great friends, I wish I still saw them too.

Pinhead...... I saw him too. He reminded me that I used to tell people that Pinhead, Pinup, and Diaper Pin, used to live in the Pin Cushion. I should give credit where due, Wild Bill (Amy's ex) was the person who named Pin Head's place, The Pin Cushion. Mrs. Pinhead, who I used to refer to as Pinup, had/has a name, since I'd rather not get sued, I'll pass on sharing it, I do remember her name, it has 5 letters. And, I don't think anybody ever referred to Pin's kid as Diaper Pin except me, and only when I was clowning for the tourists. I guess the young man is in high school these days.

Pinhead, as he was yesterday, is by far, the best Pin I've ever encountered. Unlike some people, he has aged really well, and I'd say he's a screaming success at life. I owe the guy a drink. I told him I'd buy him one, but he wasn't ready for one yet, and we went in opposite directions. I'll hunt him up and pay off next week.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I collected my money

Yesterday, I went over to the office and collected my money. All of it. The deposit, $100, was down for 22 1/2 years. The rest of it, a few hundred, was in what they called 'my account'.

Roy didn't think I was very nice. I wasn't. His notion of closure is we both stand there and smile, and think to ourselves, the other guy is a disgusting two faced bastard. This is supposed to be done while being a disgusting two faced bastard. I had no reason to play that bull shit game. He asked how I'd been, and I asked why he'd want to know.

I ran into Bull Frog in the drivers room. Now there's a disgusting man. He hasn't changed much in twenty years. The image of the Bull Frog that will stick in my mind forever is him in the dispatch office telling me and Jim Bob, he's going to call the cops on us if we don't sell him a top we have in a zip lock bag lying on the desk.

It was a beautiful top, picked up at it's day of perfection, in mid summer. It was probably 8" long. It had the good looks to make it onto the cover of High Times. Only, it was like smoking toilet paper. It burned, made you cough, and had none of the desired effect what so ever. It had been impossible to resist picking a top and bringing it to the office. In my entire life, I've never seen a bud or top that's in the same league, looks wise.

Where we got it, was over in Middleton by a pond, where small construction companies had been dumping 'trash' and fill illegally. Let's say you're a sidewalk contractor, you need to remove the old sidewalk, a little dirt, and take it someplace and get rid of it. You tell your guy, take it so and so a place. He does, runs up the box on the dump truck, and it's gone. Cool, you didn't have to pay to get rid of it.

Jim Bob was building a retaining wall, and the same thing was going on. He needed materials, broken pieces of sidewalk (larger than 24"x24"), to make his retaining wall out of. Viola!!!!! Look at all that wonderful broken concrete, just begging to be taken away. It was going to leave the same way it came.

So Jim and I are wrestling large concrete pieces into the back of his pickup, and I keep smelling this strange smell. What is that smell? I know I've smelled it before. What is that smell. Finally I looked up and saw 5 and 7 lobed leaves, saw toothed leaves, bright green leaves. Wow!! Hey, JB, know what this stuff is?!?!?!? We took our concrete, got rid of it, and came back in my car. JB jumped out, ran over and grabbed that top, and ran back to the car, and we took off quick. When we'd driven around in circles for 15 minutes, we figured we were safe.

That was when we broke out a cigarette paper and rolled up a doobie. JB took the first hit. I thought he was going to cough himself to death. He told me to use care. I tried it. It was GOD AWFUL. Another 15 minutes later, it was brutally obvious that it was the worst either of us had ever seen.

Does Bull Frog still indulge? He's supposed to get drug tested, but with so many things, the fix might be in. I wrote the computer program they used for years to pick random groups of drivers to test. It's flawed in a way that would let them cheat and protect particular individuals. They claim they don't do that, and they don't use it any more.

Gee, that's what the Bull Frog claims. He doesn't do that, and doesn't use it any more. What a coincidence.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The end of Xanadu

Xanadu? Yeah, I lived there. Many, sort of wild memories. I loved the place, but I had to leave Ann Arbor, so I had to leave Xanadu too. Many great characters too. And the little intrigues in the house, like the John Adam's Memorial Closet, and the Death Patrol...... Sigh.....

What ever happened to the place? It was sold back into the Greek system. Last time I was home and checked, it was a frat or sorority, I didn't look close enough to determine which. What ever happened to the place? I killed it.

Say what? Luther would tell you the guy at the Detroit paper killed it. It happened at that last house meeting he (the writer) attended. Well, it is true, Luther came up to me after that house meeting and asked me to do something, and I asked him what I was supposed to do. Luther had watched me take the podium and tell the other members that they were doing something they'd really regret, and it is true that Janet Marquart, who was from here, called in March and said, "You were right, everything you said would happen, happened." Sigh..... Being right and three bucks will get you a plain coffee downtown.

What did I really do that was so bad? Why was it me, not the guy from the Detroit paper? I'll tell you: One day in the dining room, Scott Strahl was standing around with some other people, and I complained bitterly to him that Luther was an absolute idiot. Luther was an absolute idiot BECAUSE, if somebody moved out owing the house money, Luther would simply let them go. There would be no significant effort made to collect the money. So, why should anybody pay their rent the last semester they were there? They shouldn't of course! Only a fool would pay money if there was no consequence for not paying.

I knew immediately that I'd screwed up. How many people heard me quoted, and tried it out. And after it was seen to be true, it must have gotten really bad. At first a few people would stiff the house for a few hundred, and the percentage would increase every semester. Bad jig jig, as they'd say here on Fraternity Row.

I made that unfortunate (but true) comment about 3 weeks before I was to leave Ann Arbor forever. I wouldn't be around to apply peer pressure to dead beats. I wouldn't be around to que the office in on special problems so we could cut the loss's. But you always thought I was a bad influence anyway, didn't you Luther?

The only choice the organization would have would be to sell the place back to the Greeks, which is exactly what they did.

God, did I do a stupid thing. Luther do you hear me. And you did just as stupid a thing buddy. Didn't you understand that sooner or later somebody would see it and exploit it. It was just your own laziness, you didn't feel like going and doing the running around required to win the case and judgment you couldn't collect. You could run your own rental property that way, but not an organization with over 600 members.

At the time, Luther was the head salaried administrator of the organization, and he had an office down in the student union. He's long since retired. The Admiral used to do the wiring in his rental properties, so I knew more about him that most of did. Cryptic? You betcha, Xanadu and Bag End are worth an entire other blog, AND do I want to get sued for remembering the truth? No, I'll pass.

PS. Thanks John Jerko for being an honest guy.

PPS. The people, couple, I was complaining about was Tim and Erica. Erica was this little airhead who was, a sophomore or junior. Tim was ten years older than her. Once they started living in the same room, both of them stopped paying. They lived off the money her mom sent every month for her rent and expenses. Tim was supposedly in the comic book publishing business, but he was living off her and doing nothing. I watched them get farther and farther behind. Tim tried to tell me he'd had a heart attack, so he couldn't pay me the money he owed me. I told him that what he owed the house was the house's business, but money owed to me was my business, and he was expected to pay. I was very diplomatic, and he was very....... I don't know... I never mentioned a consequence, but I'm sure he imagined one. He was a pretty wimpy guy. He paid me a week later, I thanked him, and told him to never knock on my door again. An image I will never erase from my memory was Erica looking lovingly at a new blouse in the store dust wrapper, as she cruised through the front door with it. The rest of us paid for that blouse.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gromit went shopping

I must stop by Kinko's again, and put his photo on the web, so I can put it with this posting.

Who is he? He's my dog of course. Gromit Smiley Dog.

Why is he interesting? He took off Monday night, ran off into a blizzard, leaving me standing at the door staring out into the swirling snow. I'll spare you with how I felt.

He wandered over to the grocery store. It's always been a place of treats. Often, I buy a couple of pieces of fried chicken from the deli, and we share. Don't even bother with the, it's not good for him routine. He's always said, he never intended to live forever, and if he dies before I do, that's tough. He doesn't want to spend his old age mourning me in a small kennel with a concrete floor at the humane society, waiting to be euthanized, eating bland 'healthy' dry dog food.

I once asked him if that wasn't kind of cynical, and he told me not at all. He said that if it was a question of me crying for a month straight, or him being on a thin mat on that cold floor for ten days waiting to be executed, he'd much rather be eating fried chicken every day.

He does have an amazing gift for clarity, when it come to describing what really matters in life.

Here's what he did. He took off, and ran toward downtown for a few blocks. Seeing nothing was open, and no people were around, he changed course pretty quick. How do I know this? Somebody saw him on the sidewalk headed east. He got to the grocery store pretty quick. They close at nine, and he got there before they closed. He walked up to that automatic door, it opened, and he went right on inside. One of the customers decided to take the nice doggy who was lost home.

She called the cops from her house. If she hadn't taken him home, I might have found him, but I don't blame her for taking him home. I can only speculate if there was some, 'can we keep him' going on, and that husband who was at home said no way, look at the size of him, he'll eat us out of house and home, and we'll need a wheelbarrow to haul away the dog shit.

Did I sleep at all Monday night? Of course not. I did get pretty well versed on 'lost dogs', which might be worth the ordeal, but I'll only know that if the time comes. I mentally accepted being single, and I only cried a little.

It costs about $75 bucks to get your dog out of dog jail. Toss in the fuel for running around, and the other little details, and you've pretty near got a C-note. I could get ten - 8 piece fried chicken for that money. Do you hear me pup?

What a guy.... He just opened an eye from his nap, and spoke in that single word language of his, hmmmmmm, and said, "8 piece? Are you kidding? You never even buy those for yourself, let alone buy them for me. Once a month maybe, if I'm lucky, do we share one. So I should care?"

He closed his eye, and now he's twitching in his sleep again, chasing something out there in the woods. I'll bet it's a wood chuck, he likes chasing those things.

Last night, Tuesday night, with him beside me again, I got the best nights sleep I can ever remember getting.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Another story - and what is narcissism?

I was looking at a commentary about something unrelated and came on this stuff about narcissism. My immediate reaction was, do I suffer (excessively) from that. Do I suffer at all from it?

Good question. I can only say that the most upset I've gotten a doctor in the last 20 years was the way I filled out his 'new patient' questionnaire. Guy was into Jesus, and he was looking for some kind of 'god put me here to do his bidding' answer to the question, "Why are you here:". I answered it, "Nothing has killed me yet." Then he wanted to argue about it, and I said, "Nothing has killed me yet, I'll be around until something does, and not one minute longer." He really didn't like that.

I believe that guy was losing his mind. All of a sudden, I'm real critical of a lot of older people losing their minds. There were a few in my life. My Finnish grandmother used to say she wanted to be allowed to wander out on the ice and freeze to death someday. Her grandmother who took care of her when she was a tot was 'elderly-crazy', infected her with it, and in spite of it not being a biological pathogen, I really think she was doomed from the time she was four to screw up every life she would touch for the entire rest of her life.

When I was in my mid 30's and a non traditional college student, my mother said she was going to put my grandmother (her mother), into a loony bin. I told her grandma was harmless, and to send her out here, she could live with me. My mother asked me what would happen if Jesus told my grandmother to kill me? I told my mother, that was such an absurd comment that I should dismiss it out of hand. Now, I wouldn't. Now, 25 years later, after she's dead, I have to admit, "Yeah Ma, people like Grandma are capable of doing things like that, only I'm way too hard to kill. I'll take the chance, not because it couldn't happen, but because she couldn't pull it off." Now, ESPECIALLY now that I'm getting up there in age, I know how bad you can hurt from head to toe, just moving around, and even if Grandma did out weigh me by more than 50 pounds she was totally incapable of holding a pillow over my head, awake or asleep.

Where was I............ oh yeah, the Jesus freak doctor. Well, that guy poisoned me, about 100 weeks ago. Why would he do that? So, I'd be broken financially, and out of desperation I'd have to seek out Jesus. Sick, right? Regrettably, I'm absolutely certain that's what went down. Would I offer his name or the details? (do I want to get sued? ah, no) Was his sick relationship with Jesus a lot like my own grandmother's? Unfortunately. Yes, Ma, I should have listened to you. Historians note that when Nazi Germany was falling, a huge number of people found god. Take away an old person's warm place to live, food, booze if they're a drinker, and... it figures.

It never ceases to amaze me how many screwed up people are running around out there. In the 'perfect' world we had 2,000 years ago, there was no societal support system to keep propping people up. So, 2,000 years ago, we didn't have supermarkets, TV's, or many elderly who were crazy.

When that guy (the doctor) was 55, which isn't that old, the rest of the medical community stripped him of everything but his license to practice. He was no longer a surgeon. I understand why now.

(Please, if that kind of thing ever happens to me, let me wander off into the cold. The thought of being that fucked up is really repulsive)

The fictional character Olivia Soprano has really struck a nerve, and I really see Virginia McPhee in her. (the name on my mothers high school diploma)

Oh, yeah......... The other story. Here goes: Years ago, when I was in college I met this guy who grew up out in the plains, became the all American success story, and was hiding something totally unacceptable from his family, the people he grew up with, the professionals he worked with as a young adult, the people of his small home town, the people he worked with while learning his craft............. Everybody! AND, if my hunch is correct, the driving force that made him such a screaming success, was precisely the reason he can't ever go back to his home town to live. Strange isn't it? Add memory of Dave Dixon to material to work with.

I mostly have a couple of snippet length images in my memory of the guy, and 'his story', but I'm seeing a lot of potential in it. Why?

Well, I was the opposite. There is nothing about education I could not have handled. I like reading. I like problem solving. There are specific things I don't do well, but you don't have to do those things well. I've never done Physics or Chemistry labs well, because I ran out of time perpetually. Solution, avoid those two areas, I did, and it wasn't a problem. With enough burning desire to be a chemist I could have done those labs, but can everybody be top 2 percentile in every thing? Not really. How did I actually do? 1.88 grade point average in high school. Passing grades in college, but how well you score in college is in large part a function of how well prepared you were when you walked in the door, and I wasn't. (prepared, that is)

I was acceptable to my father, and his theory was if he pounded the shit out of me enough, I'd be even better. The guy I thought of, got along great with his father. In large part, his burning drive to achieve was solely to avoid letting that father who thought so highly of him, see who he really was. Did his father ever see who he really was/is? I doubt it. Shame isn't it?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Soprano's

I acquired the first 3 seasons, and I've been watching them. That's where I was exposed to the term 'vig'. I hadn't heard it in at least twenty years. The quality of the the story, continues to amaze me. Part of me wonders if presented in novel form would it would be mediocre? Some of the details of family's they're able to weave through it are really really good. And I love the shrink, I'm almost tempted to go talk to the guy I used to talk to, to see what he thinks of some of the stuff in the story.

Tony's mother and wife are particularly great characters. His mother because she's such a monster, much more dangerous and evil than Tony, and his wife because she's always there in Tony's shadow, being the strongest character in the story.

Tony's mother tries to get him wacked. She tries to get her brother in law, Tony's uncle to do it. Then she tries to get Artie, the restaurant owner to do it. The shrink is reticent to say, "Well, Tony, your mom is your worst enemy, and she'll kill you if she gets the chance." Tony wants to be a good son, and take care of/respect his mother. Being a good son, nearly gets Tony killed.

I see so much of my family in The Soprano's, especially my mother. When I was a kid, I wanted to be in my dad's business, and he screwed me over until I moved away from southern Michigan. But my mother....... And she had 2 sons, one she loved without qualification. Brother Eric flushed everything my mother had when she was in her mid fifties. Those of us who are over fifty can appreciate how bad an act that is. He was a rotten kid, he was a rotten man.

My mother's father, our grandfather didn't approve of my brothers behavior when he was a kid or an adult. I can remember being about 12, and my mother coming to me and saying that my brother had over heard my grandparents talking and they'd said I was their favorite, and it hurt Eric's feelings. What was I supposed to do about that? Was it true, or one of my mothers made up facts, which she would swear on her soul was true? I think she was lying, but what was the object, why? Was I supposed to go to grandma and say, 'You need to love Eric more.' What 12 year old is supposed to do something like that.

My mother's mother also has a link to Tony's mother. She was raised as a small child by her grandmother. She spoke of her grandmother as a religious saint. She grew up in a small log shack a few miles south of Lake Superior, in the sticks of the UP. I have to wonder if a lot of her behavior as a middle aged to old adult was the result of having a real sick (alzhimers or something similar) real elderly person exclusively taking care of her when she was real small. I'll never know. I only know, I didn't accept her crazy act, and when people wouldn't tolerate it, she got lucid and sane pretty quick.

When my brother was thirty, if there was life insurance on me or some other current profit, would my mother have wanted to see me dead, so she could give Eric even more money to flush? God, I love that Olivia Soprano character. And I love the shrink saying things like, 'well I was reluctant to call a spade a spade but your mom might be out to do you real serious harm..........'

Tony Soprano gives me questions about my own father. Tony is very real. Vito Corleone is more make believe. I can picture Tony being someone I run into from time to time. Tony is a very real character. My dad didn't want me in his business, road building, and why is anybody's question. Was it because my dad didn't make his money honestly? Good question. I will say this, he owned a vice cop. How did he get to know that cop that well in the first place? Why would that cop screw around with some random Joe-Blow if there was no profit in it? Were there cops like that in my hometown? Sure, that was before their modern age of great wealth.................... And does their modern great wealth make them above reproach? If you believe it does, I have a swamp in Arizona I'd like to sell you. I wish my dad was around so I could ask him about a lot of this stuff, and I wish he trusted me enough to answer me.

Did my dad hang around in a 'coffee shop', back in the day? Yes he did. It was a bacon and eggs joint called Fowlers, which was on the corner of Stadium and Liberty. If he wasn't home, my mother would tell people, to look for him there, just like Carmella would tell people to look for Tony at Badda Bing.

Sigh...................... Great fiction, really is.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The vig


I was looking at a friends blog and he's making these observations about vocabulary. One of the words he found interesting was Vigoda, which is the name of an actor from my child hood.

A word I learned at 12 (the old old office) is vig which is short for vigorish. It was explained to me by Timmy. Timmy deserves a place in my stories for a number of reasons, I wonder what ever happened to him.

A different time. All the PSHA crowd, Timmy, and the word vig. I should expand on this and him.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The beginning of a new collection

In a .txt format file I have a growing collection of first chapters. It's very educational to read them. I read them out loud to myself too, perhaps I'll get to a point where I have them memorized.

My new collection is publishers, and the first in the collection will be:

Why them? I don't have a good reason, I saw a reference to them somewhere and went to their web site. Maybe they were on 60 Minutes or something. Anyhow, they do have some authors, and I'm actually familiar with a couple of titles by their authors. Small world.

On a similar but different subject.....

In the process of working on that first chapter, I discovered a couple of reasons why people go to fiction for stories that are really memoirs. You can't remember all the tiny details well enough to fill in the stories in your book, so you say to yourself, oh well, that's what fiction's for.

For instance: I well remember when I made the decision to move to Madison, Wisconsin. How many details do I need to fill out the scene that I can't remember? And how many of them can I look up, so they're accurate? Well, Terri (to become my second wife later on), and I are sitting on the end of Francis street. It's late June or early July, nice warm day, and we're arguing about something. What? Who knows. All that #*@%^ ever wanted to do was argue about nothing, or something there was no control over anyway. Francis street runs into the lake, literally. I'm sure it was some kind of boat ramp many years ago. There's a bluff/hill on the east side of it, and at the top sits French House. On the west side, the low side, sits the DU house. There are wonderful trees with a canopy of leaves over us. So, we're sitting there in the shade, listening to the waves lazily lap against the pavement, arguing over nothing. Sitting on the curb.

There's a guy sitting on the curb on the opposite side of the street, that we weren't paying any attention to. It's a public place, and we're not slugging it out or anything, but she's got to argue. I wish I'd had enough sense to get up and tell her to find her own way back to East Lansing, and walk away. I know what she would have done, called her dad, and he'd get to rescue her, yet again. He lived for that. God, he was such an idiot. Anyway..... back on subject...... We're sitting on the curb about 15 feet from the water lazily lapping the end of Francis street, across from this guy we don't know. ARGUING, as usual.

The guy introduces himself as Jerry. He asks us if we'd be willing to shut up, if he got us stoned. Terri would always stop arguing for a joint. So, Jerry got us stoned, and I said to myself, "Here we are sitting by this beautiful lake, in this great campus district, and this guy has a joint for us. What a great place. I want to live here."

And that's how I chose Madison, Wisconsin. Now, where do I go with that...... Perhaps a longer work that is a collection of arguments with that idiot. But I'm really glad I made that realization about her father being a moron who gloried in saving his daughter. In a lot of ways, she's just like my younger brother was. Too many ways. Only, my mother wasn't as stupid as her father was. Nice guy, I really liked him, but stupid........ So stupid. And let his wife lead him around by his nose. And, WHY would she want a man like that? He was pudgy, stupid, didn't make much money.... She was pretty good looking, ambitious, had family behind her, what did she see in him? Sigh.............. who knows.............

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Since I bored you..... (sorry bout that) Chapt 1?

......Yet again, I'm rewriting chapter 1 -- what/where I am this morning. ( from 1/1/89, 3am.)

I pulled up to O'Cayz looking for a pair. A guy ran out to the cab wearing only shoes, slacks, and a t-shirt. He was in good spirits and wanted to go to State street so he could party on. I had one in and two pairs to get, so I didn't have room for him. For a drunk, he was real nice about being told he couldn't get in. As I watched him run back into the bar, I couldn't help noticing the back of his t-shirt. It was black, probably from other men walking on him. Then a woman wearing an evening gown and her date hurried out. They carefully weaved through the dozen or so men wrestling on the ground in the snow. I pushed the passenger door open so they could slid into the front seat before one of those drunks grabbed one of them and dragged them into the melee. I was really pleased when the woman said Breeze Terrace. That was the destination I was looking for, they were my passengers. I didn't have to tell them I couldn't take them. I put the Dodge into drive, and pulled away.

Her date, sitting next to me in the middle of the front seat was a sight. One arm of his tux was hanging by a couple of threads. The back of his right hand had a knot on it the size of a golf ball, surely caused by a badly broken bone. She was wearing a beautiful evening gown. Over and over she said, oh you poor baby. He wasn't bleeding on my cab, but his general appearance could only be described as, all beat up. I thought to myself, "Yeah lady, that's why you spent five hundred bucks on an evening gown. So your boyfriend could get himself in a bar brawl and get all beat up."

Four blocks later, I was sitting in front of The Fess, tooting the horn. A couple hurried out and piled into the back seat, their destination was State street, specifically The Pub. They had the trademark New Year's Eve hats and horns. They were loaded, the cab was loaded, everybody was happy, and I hadn't even gotten to the square yet. All short rides too! I swung around the corner onto King street, every light the city had was on, giving it a surreal look. There was a line to get into The Majestic, at least thirty couples deep. Both gin joints on the other side of the street had lines too.

Friday, February 11, 2011


We all know what slush is, and god knows there's going to be a lot of it out there in the very near future. It's supposed to warm up to just above freezing, daytime temperatures starting tomorrow, so all that knee deep snow will start to melt. Then we get black ice (snow melt water that freezes into slick ice at sunset), and everybody who is driving professionally would almost be money ahead to park it for a week, rather than risk higher insurance premiums.

In publishing, slush refers unsolicited queries. I'm not sure if it's the whole query, or if it's just the sample of the work the author is hoping they'll publish. I do know that reading slush is considered drudgery by the people in the business.

An agent turned author had a contest of sorts on his blog. Post a first paragraph on the blog in the comments and it's entered. The winner basically gets an agent. No, I did not win, nor did I make it into the finals. BUT, I did enter. A step forward. Next time, I'll do better.

Which brings me to what I'm really thinking. First paragraphs......

The last time I seriously thought about writing a paragraph (that I remember) was when Kennedy was either running for, or had just become, president. A long time ago, to be sure. After that, instructors assume you have already learned basic English, and don't present it again. And why would you care anyway, if you can speak, you can write. This makes sense and works fine until someone expects you to do a good job on something longer.

Which is where we come to that first paragraph, and that "slush pile" on a literary agents desk. 100's, or 1000's of submissions (they call them queries), and if that agent is late for his kids little league game, he might not care how good the top query on that pile is.

My reaction to this is to get myself a big collection of first paragraphs. I can't keep them on the internet because I don't want somebody chasing me around over copy rite issues, but I can keep them in a file on a disk, and study them. I'm not scanning them, I'm typing them in, so book by book, I'm seeing what finally made it into print. AND the comments of that agent who got to judge the finalists of that contest begin to make a lot more sense.

Why didn't my 4th grade teacher tell me about this stuff? I seriously doubt she had a clue. She'd just gotten her Mrs. degree, was only minimally interested in teaching, and was just like a lot of the other morons teaching in the public schools in my home town back then. She was putting in her time, and putting her husband through grad school (another big 10 town), and wanted a nice neat little formula she could use in class. She had NO CLUE what a paragraph was really used for, and didn't care. I'm sure she's a grandmother today, and I'll bet her ears still touch. Oh well..............

Back to transcribing those first paragraphs.....

Monday, February 7, 2011

What's funny anyhow?

Back in the day, I used to sit in front of the awning at the Essen Haus if there was nothing else better to do. One night I'm sitting there, and Mike and Neil drag this struggling guy out and toss him on the pavement. Back in they go. Mike's the door man, and Neil 's the bouncer.

The guy comes up to me and asks me if I'll give him a ride to Langdon st. I say ok. He gets in, and we're off.

Almost immediately he's telling me what happened. One of the things you learn is you don't have to ask, usually they'll tell you what happened. If they're ashamed of what happened they won't tell you, and it doesn't matter if you ask or not.

He tells me he went there with his room mate. That's pretty common. They were drinking a pitcher of beer, sitting at the bar. Also pretty common. It's a week night, and on week nights they don't have that UUUoom Paaaahh polka band going. If you go there, it's to dine or more likely to drink. German beer on tap, and the best freshly made warm soft pretzels you could ask for to munch on while you drink.

He gets up and tells his room mate he's going to the bathroom to relieve himself. We all know you don't buy beer, you rent it.

He comes back and his room mate is cracking up. He asks the guy what's so funny. The room mate just snickers on trying hard to control the giggles and breaking into fits of laughing his ass off. Just what the hell is so funny?

So he takes a sip of beer and asks again. The room mate goes bonkers, laughing his ass off.

Finally after much pressing, the room mate confides that what's so funny is he pissed in the guys beer. It was only 3/4 full, so he unzipped his pants, slipped the stein down under the bar and topped it up.

What would you do? Almost anybody I've ever met would be ready to kill the guy. He acted just how you'd expect.

Neil doesn't wait for explanations, he breaks up fights and tosses people out. So the poor victim got tossed out, and was sitting in my cab telling me the story.

Now comes the punch line, sort of ....................... The guy tells me that the ultimate insult, what he's really really really pissed off about, is that his room mate is still inside the bar drinking. They didn't boot him out, so he can't kick the guys ass!

You've got to wonder what happened when the guy who didn't get kicked out finally got home.

Friday, February 4, 2011


This blog started out as a collection of cab stories. I'd read Hack and said to myself, I've got so many more stories, and better stories.............

I told myself that when I started actually writing the book, I'd go back through the posts, and one by one take them down, as they went into the pages of the book. Otherwise, I wasn't going to go back and read my own writing. Lately, I did a little reading of my own writing, and it's evolved. I now see why people don't write in certain ways. You don't say, "Ah, yeah................ Ah, am, er.... and so forth", before you begin to speak like you would if you were actually speaking. Readers won't tolerate it. They just put the book down, or click into the next website, or what ever they do. When I started this blog, I put that stuff in on purpose because it's how I'd actually tell the story if you were in my cab listening. I, the reader would put the book down too.

Perhaps my writing has improved.

There are a few reasons for reading those old posts. How many of you keep a diary? Do you ever read that diary? How much value is there in reading your own diary?

I came across a letter that I'd written to my daughter. I've written dozens of letters to my daughter, and only ever mailed 2 perhaps. Last time I saw her, she was 5. All the stuff I'd write to her is on real paper, so to get it here I'd have to transcribe it. Last time I talked to her, she told me I'd have to do some really off the wall things if I ever wanted to talk to her again. Some time later, my mother told me she'd had second thoughts, but what she'd said to me was sufficiently off the wall that I said to myself, I should be afraid of somebody with that much hate in them.

How did I come to be talking to her? I had hunted her up on the internet, I sent an email to someone who was probably her. Bingo, it was her. I'd sent an email to one, Lisa Sherrill Schumaker of the Tuscon, Arizona area, employee of the State of Arizona. Over the years, she'd kept in contact with grandma, and my sister, but not me. I was this monster or something, and everyone was to hide her from me. Something she probably never realized was how off the wall my relationship with my mother was. Her total image of me was the one painted by my mother, her mother, and her mother's family. Great portrait.

Back in the early '70's her mother figured out that it was much more profitable to not have a husband. She had a live in boyfriend who paid 1/2 her rent, and a female room mate who paid 1/2 the rent on the house, and she went to my mother and grand parents frequently with her hand out asking for more money to tide her over until next months child support check came. I'm sure she never hit on her own family. In spite of the fact that her father was a salaried consultant to a major automaker, and a tenured professor at the University of Michigan, and a staff officer in the US Air Force, he never had any money. Just like her. She asked my dad once, and he asked what she was willing to give him for it. For ever more, she'd claim that my dad had propositioned her.

So do you ever read your own diary? Huh?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A dangerous Ground Hog Day

I've seen cold, and I've seen snow, but..............

Last night was the first time I've ever laid in bed and said to myself, if the electricity goes out, I'm in a lot of trouble. I thought of the flashlight, and said to myself, "The truck will start, and the tank is full." The last time I really remember something like this was when I moved here in January of 1979. I lived in a huge old converted frat house on Lake Mendota, south shore. I can remember watching those waves of snow sweeping up against the house off the lake. It wasn't scary then. It never occurred to me that the heat or electric could fail. Where I'm at as I write, the heat is electric, so if the electric failed, well, the dog and I would be in a lot of trouble.

The national news, (NATIONAL, not local, NATIONAL), mentioned 7 cars out on an Illinois interstate highway, about an hour from here, stranded for over 12 hours. They say a snowmobile club is trying to rescue those people from their cars. Before I moved here, I'd seen blizzards before, but they were pretty warm compared to here. Heavy wet snow. This snow is really cold, and blows good. Snow that blows good, creates drifts, and it doesn't take a drift over the top of your house to put you in a lot of trouble. A drift across the highway that's 12" deep is enough to trap the car in front of you, then your, then....... A truck sliding off the highway can drop an electric pole that will kill the power for 1,000's of people. And, as if it wasn't bad enough, they say that tonight the low will be around -10, which is around -23 centigrade.

The news people have been making a big deal out of the 'thunder' snow. I heard the thunder last night, and it didn't worry me that much, but perhaps it should have. Another way to wipe out an electric pole and kill 1000's of peoples power is a lightning strike on a power pole. Where there's thunder, there's lightning.

They say that in Indiana the electricity is out in places and they don't expect to restore it for days. They also say there is an inch of ice on some highways. I've been through Indiana in a truck during a storm like that, it requires very careful driving. The biggest problem in a storm like that is you can't get off the highway. Imagine pulling down the exit ramp and the only place you can go is back up the on ramp. And the on ramp looks kind of sketchy, but you can't park in the middle of the highway, so back up onto the interstate you go. Indiana is a lot warmer than here, so they'll get warm air and rain that will burn it off.

In Egypt there are riots with soldiers trying hard to not kill people. The news just announced a molotov being thrown from the roof of a building into a crowd of people. The result of the unrest in Egypt is a 10% overnight increase in the price of gasoline. So in this neck of the woods, gas is around $3.20/gal, and diesel is around $3.40. That means that driving a truck around is getting pretty expensive, figure a dollar a mile for where ever you're going, round trip. Wow, a trip to Seattle, just for fuel, is around $2,000.............. Wow............

Oh, yeah, the ground hog. Since he's under snow, he's unlikely to see a shadow. So, why should he be scared of it, and go back inside. If I was the ground hog, I'd be digging a tunnel through the snow looking for some frozen greenery to eat. So, I'm guessing, the ground hog prediction will be early spring.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One of my first lessons

That first fall, back in 1988, I drove Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. I started as early as I got it together to show up, and I had to park it at 10 am.

There was a regular ride that went out of De Forest at around 5 am. They'd read it off, and take bids like normal, then say, the same guy was up, every day.

I tried hanging in the north, I tried hanging by the end of the airport runway. Not even close. What was going on?

They'd lied to me when they hired me, and when I was trained. They told me that sitting on time calls wasn't allowed. Sitting on a time call, what's that? Joe Blow has a regular ride at so and so a time, and it's a big money ride. So, you go and wait for it. 1/2 hour, 45 minutes, what ever it takes, as long as it's worth it. It's done in all cab environments, dispatching or no dispatching.

It was my first serious exposure to the lying and cheating that is the norm in the business. Eventually, I was there when Mader showed up one morning. Nobody was happy about it. But it stopped being his personal shift starter. 3 days a week, it became my shift starter, most of the time. How early did I have to go there? About an hour early. Coffee and the Wall Street Journal became the start of 3 shifts a week.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

parlay card

When I started driving, I saw something I'd never seen before. Parlay cards. Perhaps I'd led a sheltered life.

They had them in the office. I don't recall any drivers being interested in them, only the dispatchers and non management office people. I don't recall when they faded out of the picture, it was many years ago.

I mentioned them to a friend, and he smiled broadly. Then came the story of a 7 team parlay he almost made, 6 of his teams won. He'd prefaced his comments by saying he'd never been interested in gambling. I guess it's not gambling when it's a couple of bucks, kind of like a state lottery ticket.

Only, I know a plain working stiff who buy's at least $60/weeks worth of scratch off tickets. Sometimes more. Sure he wins a few, but I'm sure he has a net loss of $2,000/year, minimum. That's actually a lot of money. At least as much as the sales tax he pays.

What I wonder is, which one of them was running the parlay cards? And, when he finally couldn't pay for it, what happened to the guy who screwed the whole deal up? And, did the parlay cards simply move over to the bar (that goes un named) where they all play pool tournaments a couple of evenings a week.

Hmmmm, would that fellow allow them to be run out of his bar.............. I'm pretty sure I know how he'd handle it, he'd tell the first person he saw selling them, it was the last time he was going to see one, or the last time he'd see that guy, which ever came first. He'd accept that they were being passed there, but passed not seen.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fear and cowardice

Fast Eddie has said that if he was going to get in a bar fight and he was only allowed to bring one friend, he'd want to bring me. It's a joke, of course.

A well trained cop can tell you that some people appear very calm when they're terrified. Most people act normal, and appear terrified. I think this quality of appearing calm is a liability. Most people think you're not afraid, and when it's men, often what's going through their mind is, "Well who do you think you are? Billy Bad-ass?" Then they posture and act as if you are Billy Bad-ass. They usually don't take a shot at you because they know they're not real good, and that makes them more dangerous. They're standing there looking for a cheap shot to take, a preemptive cheap shot, and if they get the chance, they might panic and actually take it.

How do I know all about this? That should be obvious. In case it's not, allow me to share a traffic accident I was in in Oklahoma a few years back.

My log book was so far behind that bringing it up to legal was hopelessly out of the question. Some how, a white Cadillac had gotten in front of my truck, and I was pushing it down US69 sideways, at 65 mph. When I realized it was there, I took my foot off the accelerator and let everything coast to a stop. As I jumped down off the ladder (cab over), the fellow who'd been driving the car was getting out of the passenger door of his caddie. He was visibly shaking. We asked each other at the same moment if we were all right, and both answered that we were.

Imagine that. A car, semi truck collision, that happens at 65 miles per hour, and not only does nobody get hurt, but both vehicles are drivable. Simply amazing! I knew I was going to jail, and when I took my foot off the accelerator, I looked at the dog and told him I was going to jail and he was going to the pound.

When the cops and the TV cameras arrived, they asked me if I wanted to sit in the back of the squad car. That was when that cop knew he was dealing with one of the strange people who look absolutely calm when everything has gone crazy. I calmly told the cop that I was as upset as I ever get, and asked him if he'd let me sit with my dog in the truck. He said, "Ok."

To the cop and all the other people standing around that accident site, the driver of the truck appeared as if nothing had happened. The cop knew better. The cop knew I was as terrified as the guy who'd been in the car. The TV news people were probably more interested in film of the vehicles. Talking to the guy in the car was normal to them, he was visibly terrified. He'd been sitting in a car with the head lamp of a semi truck on the other side of his drivers window, riding down the highway sideways. He was shaking.

I was up in the cab of that truck in an instant. I knew at that point they weren't going to ask for that hopeless logbook, and I wasn't going to jail. It was an unforgettable moment, if ever I had one.

The truth is, I accepted that I was a coward when I was real young, probably in elementary school, but for sure before I finished junior high. Being a coward shaped every life decision I ever made. And make no mistake, children start making life decisions pretty young. Think about it. When did you make your first life decision.

Am I still a coward? Of course. Being a jock in school when I was a teenager might have given me skills, but I probably would have been even better at figure skating. As an adult, people confuse aquired skill with courage.

Ex cons and criminals

We constantly see statistics about prison populations, courts, and crime. How many ex-cons do you know? In my little world, there is only one, he's a guy I only ever met once, and so far I like him.

A guy I don't count, who I've run into many times, is in a county jail for back child support. His son is 27 now. He was unemployed anyway, his living conditions were primitive, and he may well be much more comfortable in that county jail cell. An unemployed dead beat doesn't qualify as a criminal, does he? I mean, if he was a real criminal he'd have money and pay his bills. Right?

A fellow who won't exit my memory, is a kid I didn't meet driving cab. His name was Creston. He helped me move a neighbor of his. Very nice kid. He worked hard. When we finished, I paid him the pay any other man would expect for such a days work.

I ran into his former neighbor in the grocery a few months later, and asked about him. She said he was in the county jail, awaiting trial for some kind of robbery charge. She said, he and some other kids of the same ethnic background had gone out and held up a couple of white college students one night. She said his mom was letting him rot in the county jail awaiting trial.

This woman went on to say that Creston's mother had confiscated the money I'd paid him. His mother was supposedly angry that I'd allowed her son to have money, his own hard earned cash. His mother just happened to be a student at the U at the time too. Her major? Criminal Justice. Her educational track? Pre law.

Well, Creston's mother, did that money spend good at the mall? Did you think, even once, about the future of your son? Or, is it the case that you're guiding his career intentionally?

Just a question.

I'll try to write the post I had in mind tomorrow.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Never go to a funeral early

Fast Eddie told me 3:00 pm. I think I showed up around 10 to 3, but wasn't looking at the clock. I was the first cab driver. Only the intimate family had arrived earlier. Funerals are for the living. I shook Doug's sister's hand and told her I was a cab driver. As I write this, I wonder if she'll remember me of the cab drivers. I didn't see any of the others say hello to her . Only Christine asked about the family, and actually she only asked among the drivers if anyone knew which person was Doug's girlfriend. Perhaps Doug's sister will associate me with the drivers. Doesn't matter. I don't care.

Doug was a night driver. It's an odd brotherhood. You'd have to be one to understand.

They had a bunch of photo's, Doug looked like his mom, and his sister looked like his father. Doug in general looked like he came from Rockford. Rockford? Yes, he really did come from Rockford. Back in the '90's I did quite a bit of business in Rockford, and more than a few people in Rockford look a bit like Doug, or should I say Doug looked like them. I'm betting his mom comes from an old, old family. I always thought Doug was a good looking man. His mom was probably a looker when she was young.

It was hard to be alone at the funeral parlor. I got up and walked around a couple of times. When Fast Eddie arrived, it got much easier. I'm thinking a dozen to 15 drivers showed up, and all 4 cab companies were represented.

When Eddie and I sat back down, there was a guy about 4 chairs to my right that I didn't recognize at all. He was one of the day dispatchers from my first weeks driving, and he still dispatches. He's a daytime only person, so I hadn't run into him at work in years and years. When he said something, that voice rang clear as a bell, I knew who it was. He's never gained a pound. He was well dressed, could have passed for a business man. It's odd that a little of his hair is really dark, and the rest is gray. It's still curly, he still has it all, still wears it the same way, but neither he nor his hair look right. That hair was and should be very red in my mind. His comment was that he's glad he still has it. I know exactly what he means.

It took me until about the middle of the service to figure out that the little wooden box up at the front of the room was Doug. His guitar was next to it. In the presentation, they showed photo's of his dog, and said he and his dog were reunited. Hmmm. Dogless............. The depression when you lose a dog you're really close to is bad. Have I ever recovered from the loss of my first dog? Probably not.

They showed photo's of places he loved. Doug and I had the same taste. Perhaps that's why I got along with him. I haven't visited Devil's Lake in years, but when I lived in Baraboo , I went there all the time. I started to say I took my dog there too, but I don't know about that. It's a state park, and I remember climbing those rocks. Would Petie have climbed those rocks with me? Probably not. I do remember the artesian well at the dog park in Baraboo. We went doggin there a lot. It was really had to look at the photo of Doug's dog. Harder than it was to look at his photo. I don't like to think about losing the dog I have now to old age.

Which brings me back to depression. It was the dead of winter, and the middle of the first real serious cold snap. The winter money for a night driver is good, but sometimes you don't see much of the light of day. They say he went home from work, and died. He was only 52. Nobody found him for 3 days. Nobody had any reason to think it was anything other than, he just died. A blood clot in his brain perhaps. A friend who used to be an EMT said he'd picked up a 3 day dead body once or twice. The kind of body you'd just about have to burn. Well, it doesn't matter now. But I wonder.

When the service was over, I stood and walked away from the cab drivers section. Went straight up to the front of the room, where the little box was, next to his guitar. I placed my hand on the box, about like you'd put your hand on the shoulder of an old friend, and said, "Good bye Doug." Then straight outside. I said good bye to no one. When I was a kid, my grandmother had to spend 45 minutes socializing after church, every time. That was quality time, when I could have been fishing. That's why it's something I never do.

Good bye Doug. You now know, or for an instant knew, the answer to the eternal question. I wish I'd gotten to know you better when the opportunity was available. I will miss that smile.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Good bye Doug

This afternoon I will see my estranged family. The occasion? Unfortunately a funeral.

Douglas Robert Blomquist, was a night driver. I'm thinking he'd been around for about 15 years, but I don't really recall when he started driving. He was experienced, he knew what he was doing when he started here. I have no idea where he drove before Madison, Wisconsin.

Fast Eddie called yesterday and told me of the funeral. I don't know what I'd do without him.

I found yet another login to a site for writers. I'd given up trying to remember the site. When my previous laptop died, my access to it died. The password was no problem.

What I'm thinking is that there are a hell of a lot of people who want to be writers. That's nice. What do they want to write? Lit class exercises? I accepted being unable to write when I was 10 years old. I accepted it for a lifetime. Obviously, all these would be writers never had that obstacle.

What 'lit exercises' should I write? Perhaps some based on the Xanaduvians. I wonder what ever happened to that fellow from South Africa. Kind of funny story, but I can tell it because the only name in it didn't do anything she'd be able to sue me over. Her name was Andrea, and she probably disliked me more than any other house member. If memory serves, she was lady natural, one of the whole grain mamma's in the house. She had a brother in the house too, Jack. Anyway, Andrea really had it in for me. Then the fellow from South Africa cruised into the house one evening. He was looking for something. He found what he was looking for.

I asked him how he ended up in Ann Arbor, he told me he was a draft dodger. Ran to England rather than shoot people out of a helicopter in SA. He got a real good job as a computer programmer. His company transferred him from Leeds, England to Ann Arbor. He was real young too. As in, 21-ish. He must have been a REALLY smart kid.

15 minutes after he left on his first visit, Andrea was at my door, and she was real friendly. Would I introduce her to my new friend. Yeah, right. He was cute, she wasn't, at least in my estimation. I don't recall making the introduction. Why would I want to do something like her to my new friend? She didn't think of it in those terms..... Raging hormones. Even the biggest politically correct jerks have that going on when they're young it would seem.

Another funny story is the house member who wrote Lesbo Cult. That's a funny story too, I'll bet he got a whole $100 for it. He'd always claimed he was a writer. He had the right prerequisites, he drank too much, didn't fit in in a Hemingway-esque sort of way. Does he rate being remembered by anybody? Nah, he doesn't rate being remembered. Worth remembering is the fact that he was free to live there. Equal treatment for people, in a cooperative setting. The way cooperatives should work. Reflections of The Principles of Rochdale.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another great blog, I should read this one daily

And daily is the way to read it, because it doesn't come with links to all the back posts.

I was really interested in these publishing blogs and people a while back. Not so much anymore. Anymore, I see a small point of light at the end of the tunnel. Today's task is to finish chapter 2. I've got to integrate the retired Army Major, and retired school teacher who were the first 2 people to rip me off as a cab driver.

That's really great isn't it? A retired military officer, who has a great pension, and a retired school teacher, who also had a great pension. Both of whom, lived in a luxury old folks community. Based on their behavior they're no different from the first guy I ever got the cops to take to jail for skipping out on a fare. Common thieves. And, if you'd like to discuss it Major, I'd be happy to call you a thief to your face.

That first guy? If memory serves, his name was Larry Ford. The whole ride he spit on the floor of the cab and repeated that he didn't 'pay for no god damned cab rides'. Then there was the woman he lived with who came out of that welfare shack and offered me about 1/3 of the fare in nickles and penny's. God, she had the worst rotten teeth I've ever seen. It's amazing what a black guy will latch on to just so he can say she's white............. But I digress.

Anyhow, you're in fine company aren't you ladies? Especially you Major.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Went cybervisiting today

Visited a place I haven't been in almost a year.

That guy has 1,000's of followers. I used to be interested in him because he was an agent, and I thought I'd find an agent before I had a book to sell. He's still pretty interesting, but he's given up being an agent and become an author. Looks like he writes kids books.

I logged in as an alter ego of mine, that I haven't used in almost a year. I can only imagine what I'll find in the deepest alter ego, never log into blog...........

Now that I'm writing, I'm less interested in agents. When I get more written, I'll be more interested, I guess. It's moving on pretty good too.


Junk is something
You always keep
You keep it all
Heap by heap

You pile it up
Beneath your bed
Or maybe outside
in the shed

Now and then
You'll search it out
And find the things
You could do without

You'll throw it in
A boat that's sunk
And next day you'll say
You needed that junk

I had this poem transcribed on a sheet of paper and needed inspiration to toss stuff out. Well, I need to toss that poem out too. Wish I could say my kid wrote it. Oh, well, now I can toss the hard copy.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Since I first saw Ken Burns first major treatment of history, "The Civil War", I really liked that sort of presentation. The old photos, with someone explaining the history, sort of like an old primitive movie. Only it isn't Chaplain, or some 3 Stooges type thing, it's interesting.

So, while looking for the explanation of a mining term, I came across a very cool website. They have some really nice "movies", which I really liked. The website is:
and it's about Aspin, Colorado. When watching the mining movies, say to yourself copper, and northern Michigan, the lake Superior shore region, is really similar. The mineral they were after was copper, and it's similar right down to hiring divers to come and try to pump the mines out after they were allowed to fill with water during a strike, which is what killed the industry. My Finnish ancestors were copper miners when they hit the US around 1900 and didn't speak much English.

My personal travels have included Colorado, but only the flat part. There is a highway from Denver to Cheyenne, and from that interstate you can see the mountains, but the area you are in is pretty flat. It smells like cow manure when the wind is right, they have a lot of feed lots in the area, and produce a lot of the steaks we have in the grocery store here in the midwest. The locals claim they don't smell it, I suppose..... It's a pretty area, expanses of green prairie as far as the eye can see to all directions except west, and to the west the mountains rise like a wall out of the prairie. If you've never been to Boulder, it's at the bottom of the mountain, about 20-30 minutes north of Denver. From Boulder you don't look west at the mountain, so much as you look up, like straight up. I guess it's cool. People sometimes compare it to Madison, I don't think so..... We don't have the rich people from Orange County driving up the price of homes here that they are rumored to have there.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Allen Hall

I was downtown yesterday, as in State & Lake. That's as downtown as downtown gets. I wanted something from University Book Store, and for some reason, I blanked on the Hilldale location, which is cool. Everybody in town should walk through the intersection at State & Lake on occasion.

When I first moved here, The Towers and The Statesider (2 private dorms really close to State & Lake), were called Allen Hall.

At that time, the national drinking age was 18 for drinking all 'beverages'. The old tradition in Wisconsin was that you could drink at 18, but it was 3.2 beer. During the Vietnam war, the public demanded that 18 year old's be given the right to drink. The reasoning was, 'Old enough to die in Vietnam, old enough to drink.' So, here in Wisconsin, the taps at the student union started serving real beer.

When I moved here, you could get a beer at the student union if you looked old enough, and practically speaking, most people over 16 looked old enough. So, almost anybody could go up to the bar and get beer. A pitcher of beer cost a dollar, and the deposit on a pitcher was a dollar. Watch somebody get up, put their coat on, and stumble away from an empty pitcher on their table, and you could cash it in for a pitcher of beer for yourself.

I've digressed.......

Allen Hall was a residential facility for "challenged" people back then. Ok, challenged is too politically correct, call a spade a spade. They were crazy people. Like most crazy people, they were supposed to take "meds." Most took them of course. Then these 'challenged', medicated people would cruise over to The Memorial Union and get a pitcher of beer. And why not? They were old enough. It was only a 3 block walk, and 3 rather short blocks at that.

As you may have correctly surmised, the combination of meds and beer got them more than a little looped. What do looped crazy people act like? Great mental image, isn't it?

So, the University of Wisconsin decided to start carding people not for a drivers license, but for a student or staff ID. It was said that it was a membership organization, which it is, I have a life membership to the union, anyone can buy one. That was the beginning of carding people, in the early winter months of 1980.

Now they card you for age and membership.

Was it a fun place? I went there a lot, as did all my friends. I guess the answer is yes. Did we ever push those heavy wooden tables together in front of the band stand and dance on the tables. Yes, we really did dance on the tables.

One of the things that I thought of was "experience", in the context of being a cab driver

Monday, January 10, 2011

I thought I knew Madison

When I started driving cab, I did think I knew Madison. Most of the people in town also think they know the place. Oh well.

I happened to remember a guy from my college years. There were a bunch of us who used to hang out together, have lunch together at the Union, things like that. Most Jewish, and most Nicolette HS. alumni. I was kind of an odd member, I was in my 30's and from Ann Arbor.

At the time, there were a bunch of Palestinian's who hung out on State st., and at the Union. Most were older men, 30's and 40's, but a couple who were young. There was one in particular who was young and good looking, and he was dating this really good looking Jewish chick who'd attended Nicolette. All my friends knew this girl, and all had something crappy to say about her choice in boys. She was making a statement, they were making statements, and the boy she was with, well he was making a living for himself. How so?

Before I go into how so, allow me to explain that these guys were here on some sort of government program designed to feed the poor, and make the world a better place. Thank god they used up all the money in the program or wore out their welcome, or what ever they did. Like many of our current resident aliens, they weren't people you'd want living next door. Anyway.... How do I allow myself to digress like that...........

I'm walking back from the front desk at the Union (back then they sold cigarettes in addition to news papers and candy), looking down at change in my hand or a Cardinal (student paper) or something, and I almost walk right into the beautiful young Palestinian boy. He was looking down into his hands too, so he also almost walked into me. Why wasn't he looking where he was going? He was fishing a glassine envelope out of his wallet to give to one of those tough looking older men. In that glassine envelope was a white powder.

I went back to the Rathskeller, and sat back down with my friends and 5 minutes later, beautiful young man brought back every rough looking old buddy he had. Must have been 15 of those guys. They all walked past me, single file, very slowly, and looked me in the eye, fixed gaze. It was very tempting to say something like, "Koose ama.", but I decided my friends didn't need the kind of excitement it might have generated.

What was the young man's business. Does anybody need for me to spell it out?

Sunday, January 9, 2011


That's Canadian for, 'right on.'

I will never forget a bill board I saw in NW Ontario. It was a hand with a cigarette between the fingers, and the caption, "Eh."

For those of us in the US, imagine a hand with a Winston, and a pack of Winstons, with the smoke curling up from the lit ash, and the caption, "Yeah."

If I'd had any sense at all, I would have gotten lost in the woods and never managed to find my way home from Kenora. Perhaps Canadian smokes had something to do with it. I never cared for them.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hebrews 4:16

There is a Saturday morning fishing show on TV, and during a commercial break they work in a biblical devotion. Ok, it's the sabbath, I suppose....

Anyway, this quote they introduce should apply to the majority of the "Christians" I've ever met in my life. The guy on TV says it means to pray specifically, not generally. The idea is that a prayer like, "Bless everyone", isn't a valid prayer. You need to pray specifically, something like, bless my wonderful dog today, make it the best day of his life. Then tomorrow, I'll again pray for tomorrow to be the best day in his life.

Why would I pray for my dog? He's the most important creature in my life. Those of you with a spouse, pray for your spouse if that's what you do. My dog holds down that spot in my life.

I must pull my mother's bible off the shelf and look that verse up. My mother's bible? Yes, it's the bible that her grandmother gave her for confirmation when she was 14 or 15, so it has the handwriting of my grandfathers mother, wishing my mother well in it. One of the things I collect for some odd reason, are handwriting samples. I have one of my father, mother, grandfather, and so on.

Sabbath? Saturday morning? Well, my second wife............... But that's another story for another time.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I added a most wonderful home touch to my living space

It's a simple radio. A nice, basic, AM/FM clock radio that you can probably buy at Wal Mart for under 10 bucks. How many years has it been since I've had one? I can't even remember, which means it's way too long.

Programming this afternoon was classical music. Classical music is so much better than TV. I can write with the radio on, no chance with the TV on. Right now it's afternoon All Things Considered. Why did I go so long without NPR. Sigh.........

Lead story is about education, and the military. According to the story, there are way too many teens running around out there who can't qualify for the military. Further, of the ones who do qualify, many don't qualify for good jobs, and are only qualified to carry a rifle or wash dishes.

What is the real problem? I have an opinion on this matter.

There is no shame in having stupid kids. There is no shame in having criminal kids. Basically, nobody is responsible for the fortunes of their kids. Responsible in the eyes of society, that is.

Anchor babies are ok. Having a bunch of kids so you get child support or welfare is ok. Is there any penalty for the parent if these kids they are using to support themselves with don't succeed in United States society? Nope.

As long as this is the case, our society will continue to decline.

In my home, both of my parents expected the schools to magically raise their kids for them. Did it work that way? No. Does it work that way? No. Is this the limit of the problem? Regrettably, no it's not. Let's say you're a 4th grade teacher, and Johnny's mom disgusts you. You'd like to try talking to Johnny's dad, but his attitude is children should be seen and not heard, and if Johnny doesn't come home a high achiever it must be the teachers fault.

Really? Yes 4th grade teacher! Johnny has my genes and if he doesn't achieve like I have, or think he should. it is your fault for not teaching him. I pay tax's and send him to school, that's all I'm responsible for.

It's also his fault for not learning, and he will be severely punished. Punished without end, his entire childhood.

Has anything changed in 50 years? Not from what I see.

Speaking of 4th grade............ Allow me to share the biggest impact my 4th grade teacher had on me. And before I share it, allow me to also share something I was exposed to in a Comparative Literature course at the University of Wisconsin.

Ever heard of Edgar Allen Poe? If you have not, you are unusual. Most people have heard of the guy. He's one of America's great authors. What kind of stuff did he write? Horror stories.

Ever heard of E. T. A. Hoffman? Probably not. You have heard of one of his works. The Nutcracker. Everyone has been exposed to a ballet called The Nutcracker, or a child's story, or the simply the music. All owes it's beginnings to a German author named Hoffman. Well it turns out that Hoffman wrote horror stories. And, Poe read those German stories written by Hoffman. Then Poe turned around and rewrote them in English, and to this day most Americans credit him with writing these stories as original stories.

When I was in 4th grade I saw a real cool episode of Twilight Zone on TV. The story they used was the legend of the Flying Dutchman. The way it works is you get in a loop in time, and can't get out. Sort of like walking in a circle when lost in the woods. We were given an assignment to write a story. So, I wrote a story similar to the Flying Dutchman. That 4th grade teacher who didn't like my mother, and didn't like me, made me feel like a criminal. She punished me for doing the same thing Edgar Allen Poe did, as an author. Who was the criminal?

I never wrote anything again until I struggled through fundamental Lit at the University of Wisconsin, 25 years later. It's amazing who they give a license to poison a child's mind to, isn't it?

Ah............. Folk music! Sunday night folk music. It's as good as it was 30 years ago.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A rare character

I met somebody who impressed me yesterday. He's a few years older than I am, and he was complaining about being his age. I told him he looked really well preserved for 70 something, and he is. A rare character, truly rare.

On a more somber note, I found out why I haven't seen Carl lately. He's an amazing character too, but in a different way. Happy holidays Carl. You have a brother, and I'm not him, if he's not helping you there must be a reason. Besides, I have an excuse. I don't know what your last name is, so how do I help you?

But I did think about it. And I did ask Tom if he had any idea how much it would cost to help you.

And now, back to watching the Rose Bowl. The Badgers are down 1 to the Horned Frogs, and it's half time. The Badger marching band is on the field, and it's half time.

I, a native of Ann Arbor, noticed that Michigan got wacked pretty good in the Gator Bowl. I never was a Michigan fan, but I did go to high school across the street from the Big House. Mighty Michigan wouldn't let me in. I'm a Wisconsin alum.

Go Big Red!

Game is over..........................

Sigh.......... The kids from cow town got it done. Well done TCU.

And sure enough, Andy Dalton squeezed a bible quote in, on camera. A true north Texas boy. Have a great pro career Mr. Dalton.