Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Art Walk this Saturday

The first Saturday of the month means it's time for the Art Walk. The price is right: free. It runs three hours, 6-9pm. Be downtown, somewhere in the area of the sundial, and just follow the crowd. Ask for a map at your first gallery. It's fun. It's free. It's entertaining. Dress up or dress down and have a good time. See you there!

Father Carr's Place 2B
There have been about 12 in the men's shelter of late. Father Carr was in the hospital most of last week and was released Saturday.

Gary's Guide to Lawyers
(This is a short course designed for guys. Women could make the necessary changes in the script and use it too.)
How does one find and rate a lawyer? Network, of course. Be inventive. Don't network in the usual way. Be a bit devious and be prepared to spend $50 to $500.

Find a lawyer who recently became separated from his wife. Locate that woman, make friends with her. Be a good listener, in fact be prepared to be a great listener. Don't even ask her the questions you need answered. All of your questions will be answered in minute detail at the appropriate time and you will never have to ask them.

Never never come on to her. Be a friend. Allow her the time to vent over several weeks. Do something nice. Take her car to get repaired and refuse to take money. Be useful. At some point in time she will run out of things to rant about concerning her ex. Ask her what her ex thought of the lawyers he went up against. Let the conversation flow and you will learn about the two or three lawyers that he dreaded. There's your short list. Hire one of those!

Wherever there is a law school there is an organization of spouses, girlfriends, and boyfriends of aspiring law students. People who study law appear to go through a transformation as they progress towards their degree. This is a rather ugly transformation in which no matter how laid back and pleasant the person is when they start school, they become darker, a bit more quiet, and seem (quite possibly) short-tempered, arrogant, and pushy. This attitude becomes a challenge to the ones closest to them.

A survey was done in Madison circa 1985 which found this: For every 187 adults in the metro Madison area there was one licensed attorney. Many worked for the state in some capacity.

Need legal advice? Have a short list of 10 questions and ask them rapid-fire upon meeting a lawyer. One will be answered free of charge. Do this to a dozen lawyers and you will have 12 questions answered for free!

Lawyers are a lot like guns...It's nice to have one, BUT YA DON'T WANNA HAVE TA USE IT! ...But it's still nice to have one handy.

See you at the Art Walk Saturday.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Pretzel Logic / Warren Kraft

Father Carr was taken by ambulance to Aurora Hospital last Tuesday morning. He was complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath. Attendance at the men's shelter lunch that day was 12 with some residents at work, which means that about 15 men are being housed.

I have officially given up on the probe into the Omro High School student's claim that a government agency asked his parents why he was reading Mein Kampf.

Recent sign at St. Vincent de Paul store: " Who needs the Mall, We have it All." What a great store. Once or twice a month on a Monday they throw a half price sale and lucky people find gems such as Levis at 75-cents a pair. Such a deal! They do a lot of good for the community too. They provide rent 'kickers' for folks in need in return for volunteering at the store.

Bumper sticker seen at the intersection of Jackson and Algoma: "Ignore the Poor, We Want War, Bush '04".

Lawyer Jokes

My dad only knew one. It was about the fellow who graduates from law school, moves to a small town with no lawyers and hangs out his shingle. He allows a one year start-up time for his business. Six months in he is embarrassed and broke. Bills are mounting and he begins looking at other venues. At the eleven month point another lawyer moves in across town. Both lawyers are now doing well and have a thriving business.

Q: What do you call 20-lawyers at the bottom of Lake Winnebago?
A: A start.
Q: How can you tell when a lawyer is lying?
A: His lips are moving.

Here's my current favorite...A fairly wealthy fellow is on his death bed, has notions of 'taking it with him', and calls his three most trusted advisors to his side: his clergyman, his doctor, and his lawyer. After some prolonged good-byes he hands each one an envelope containing $500,000 in cash and instructs them to place the envelopes in his casket just prior to the funeral.

Several days later just before the funeral the clergyman, doc, and lawyer do just that. After the service they attend a meal at a local supper club and belly up to the bar. After a few beverages the clergyman says he has a confession to make. He tells the doc and the lawyer that he held back $150,000 and gave it to charity citing the 10% tithe rule. A few minutes goes by and the good doctor explains that he too removed some of the money. The doc says he gave half the money ($250,000) to AID's research. A few more minutes go by and the clergyman and the doc are looking at the lawyer. The lawyer looks back and exclaims: "How could you?" "That was his last wish and both of you broke it." The clergyman then looked straight at the lawyer and asked if he had indeed put the $500,000 in the casket. The lawyer said: "Of course!". He then explained that on the day he was given the envelope he went right to the bank and deposited it mentioning that only a fool would carry that much cash. He added: "On the day of the funeral I wrote a personal check for half a million and dropped it in the casket."

Wisconsin Open Records

This is a subject in which I have a level of expertise. A lifelong study of genealogy teaches a person to know and appreciate our open records law. These things change over time but I think the state has about 570 data bases and almost all are open for view including births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and even boat registrations. One of the few not open to public view are adoptions.

The concept behind the open records law is simple. It certainly doesn't take a lawyer to understand or explain it. I'll put it in my own words...

The premise...
Government IS the people.
People ARE the government.
Since the people are the government, the people have a right to know every transaction that takes place in government, since the government IS them.

The law...
EVERYTHING the government does shall be presumed to be open for public inspection.

Oshkosh City Council

I had the pleasure of attending a city council meeting recently and I didn't like what I heard. I heard Mr. Kraft, city atty., advise the city council that they could go into closed session regarding the Five Rivers development. I didn't think then and I don't think now that it met the absolute criteria necessary to go into closed session. One of the criteria has to do with competition. That is: Mr. X, Mr. Y, and Ms. Z, and Mr. Doig want the deal. There is NO Mr. X, Mr. Y, or Ms. Z! IT'S JUST MR. DOIG! Mr. Kraft, as city attorney, advised the council that it was OK to go into closed session. Mr. Kraft refused to wait a day or two to get an opinion from the state Attorney General's office. Mr. Kraft apparently doesn't put much stock in the opinions of those above him in the shark (food) chain.

A Stern Warning Mr. Kraft

You have lived in Wisconsin long enough to know that PRESUMPTION OF OPENNESS is absolutely vital to government, AND IT CAN'T BE THE OTHER WAY AROUND!

The folks who attend the council meetings are your boss Mr. Kraft and you are much closer than you think to losing that paycheck. Flaunting of the open records law is about as serious a breach as it gets. Even if the AG's office officially OK's that closed meeting it still isn't OK. The OPENNESS is PRESUMED FIRST, not after the fact.

My intuition told me to write about Mr. Kraft the day after the council meeting. I should have. My intuition was right!

Mr. Kraft needs to take a good look in the mirror and talk to himself about open records. If he can't come to terms with it maybe it's time to step aside and let someone do the job that is more in tune with what the government (i.e. people) wants.

Personalized plate on the car of a local downtown attorney: "SO SUE ME".

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Conscientious Objection Workshop

I was asked by Dr. Ann Frisch (UWO) to post this. Thank you Ann. Parents and students alike may want to attend. Does the 'WARS-R-US' mentality of our country bother you? Go here and stay out of the line of fire...

You are invited to attend a


WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 25 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (lunch included)

WHERE: Old St. Joseph Church on the St. Norbert College Campus, De Pere, WI

COST: $5.00 donation toward cost of lunch

Mr. Paul Frazier, an educator, trainer and consultant from the Catholic
Diocese of Syracuse, NY will be coming to St. Norbert College to present
workshop. Paul has been educating people of all ages on the topics of
selective service law, conscientious objection, and non-violence for over
twenty years. The workshop offers participants the knowledge base and
to talk with youth and those who lend support to young people (parents and
family members, religious leaders, teachers, counselors, etc.) about
of war and peace and an opportunity to develop specific and concrete actions
to work against war and violence. If your work and/or personal life
in some way with a young person who might want to know more about these
and how they are or will be affected by draft registration, you will find
workshop of great benefit.

To register, or for more information,
email daniel.robinson@snc.edu or phone (920)403-3559
Sponsored by St. Norbert College Campus Ministry

Daniel Robinson
St. Norbert College
Campus Ministry
100 Grant St.
DePere, WI 54115
Office: 920-403-3559
Fax: 920-403-4432

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Sturgeon Spearing Today

In the half-hour preceding this post there was a posting of a 190lb. sturgeon taken on Lake Winnebago. Many fishermen are coming home and giving fishing reports on a timely basis. My favorite is an ice depth chart which details average depth in the last 30-days. The recent fishing reports can be found on the same page.

I have added several links lately which are listed on your right. The Oshkosh Public Library 'Internet Links' page is a favorite of mine. This is the page that comes up when one uses a library computer. Over the last few years I have passed this link on to many who have internet service at home. By clicking on 'Search Engines' it gives quite a variety including one of my favorites: Alta Vista. Going somewhere in the car? Click on 'Travel'. There is a link for Wisconsin gas prices. Gasoline prices range about 40-cents from the cheapest to the most expensive. Wisconsin Court Access can be found under 'Government'. Need a phone number or an address? Click on 'Telephone'. This data base will also tell you the income levels, real estate values, and even the nearby neighbors names, not to mention detailed maps.

The library 'internet links' page is one that everyone in town should keep handy. It's a gold mine.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Huber Law: A Reflection

The Huber Law...but first...

Father Carr's Shelter

Numbers dropped in the last several days. I have heard counts of 12 to 20 in the men's shelter.

Mohammed Cartoons

It's being talked about everywhere but have you seen them? I'm going to put the link here but add a word of caution. It is not a good idea to make fun of religious leaders. The cartoons are causing murders and are not to be taken lightly. With that in mind go here.

Darwin's Birthday

February 12 is the date. There are celebrations galore. Some of my most enjoyable times online have been at the Darwin Awards. This is one of the oldest sites on the web and one of the most entertaining. The tragedy of others is amusing because we are still here to read about it!

The Huber Law

Henry Allen Huber 1869-1933 introduced this law into the Wisconsin Legislature and it was passed in 1913. It was the first work-release law in the nation and eventually spread to 49 other states. It was the brainchild of Wisconsin Progressives in the tradition of Fighting Bob LaFollette. Why let certain prisoners rot in jail when they could be let out during the day to work, pay off fines, and support their families? Have them return to the jail at night to prevent them from from leaving their wages in the cash register of the local tavern.

Progressives have always been noted for their willingness to try new things. The Huber Law is a shining example of experimentation. It helped a lot of families over the years.

My own experience with this law was in 1970. I was a low level employee of the Wood County Dept. of Social Services in Wisconsin Rapids. We had some donated warehouse space and two or three afternoons a month I borrowed a small truck from the courthouse maintenance dept. and drove around the county retrieving large donated furniture items. I was sent to the Huber section of the jail to find a couple of guys with strong backs and weak minds. I'd go fetch the truck and they would sign themselves out. The doors were always open to this section of the jail. Any prisoner could walk out at any time. The doors however were locked at night so strangers couldn't walk in. This took a bit of getting used to for me. In my young life it had never dawned on me that there could be a jail with no locks. These 'prisoners' would sign themselves out for haircuts, to go to the laundry, to fill out job applications, and of course to drive to work if they had a license. It was a good system and worked most of the time. On occasion a fellow would pick up a six-pack on the way to the laundromat and get caught while signing himself back in. It was back to the regular jail for those.

In the latter part of the century changes occurred that were not good. The counties began charging for room and board. Prisoners were required to pay taxi fare to and from work. At the same time the good jobs were heading out of the country. Prisoners made less on their jobs and required to pay more of their keep thus increasing the length of their stays...a revolving door so to speak, where they couldn't make enough to stay out and couldn't make do while they were in. They were required to take a lunch from the jail, and charged for it, even if they were working at a fast food place which gave them free or cut rate food. Telephone costs went through the roof. They had to pay for taxi-cabs so there was a log of where they went at what time. This was not the intent of the original program.

The Huber Law has died a slow quiet death with the use of electronic monitoring. It will take a few years to assess its viability.

Mr. Huber and Wisconsin Progressives scored big with the Huber Law. It worked.

Trivia... In the 1988 Presidential Election George Bush used a murder committed by a black man Willie Horton, (who was on work release), in ads with racial overtones to help him get elected.

More... It was reported in a Madison newspaper some years back that Henry Huber was a relative of Joseph Huber, master brewer, of Monroe, Wisconsin, but Henry had never been in the beer brewing business.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

February Art Walk: A Recap

With weather returning to seasonal normals it was a cold night to be walking around downtown. Many braved the chill to wander from gallery to gallery. Jambalaya featured items done by art students from West High and Omro. Usoapia on Market Street was open. The owner makes her scented soaps. I have noticed this shop many times and am glad I stopped in. She is very articulate and also an artist. I questioned her about the Monk-Reising gallery being closed. She informed me that Jennifer has taken on a new challenge which will take her to the state of Michigan.

This is Michigan's gain and a loss for Oshkosh. I saw Jennifer at Pick-and-Save north in late December. She told me it was time for a break. In addition to her busy schedule she had used her talents on the Festival of Lights at Menominee Park. Reflection, rejuvenation, whatever a person calls 'down-time', is necessary in the arts. It takes a clear head and a clear mind to create and excel in art and music. I personally thank Jennifer for a giant contribution to the betterment of life as we know it in Oshkosh. Let us not mourn the void but look inward and outward for creative and energetic people that can continue and even surpass Jennifer's contribution to our city.

Jacinda's Spa Salon

This salon was not officially part of the Art Walk. In fact they were not showing art. They have completed remodeling 440 N. Main into a 1st rate spa and salon. They were giving tours of their facility and offering visitors snacks and beverages. They do body treatments, chemical peels, cuts and color, styling, customized facials, make up, and more. Now this isn't my bag---but I know a good thing when I see it. The guys who are reading this should pay attention. Valentine's Day is coming up. Gift certificates could be bought and given now so they could be used before February 14. Make your significant other happy. Call 920.230.3443. (By the way, the shrimp were great!)

The women which accompanied me to Jacinda's were very impressed, all three of them.

Father Carr's Place 2B

I have been getting many comments and have good news to report. The attendance at the men's homeless shelter last Thursday night was 30. Numbers change daily and have gone up from 15 to 22 to 25 and 30. This is great news since in the past the numbers have been 3-4-5 on a given night (with a capacity of 75). Thirty is far too big a load for the small numbers who volunteer to help Father Carr. It would be my hope that he is asking for more volunteers rather than burning out the ones he has.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Art Walk on Saturday

It's the first Saturday of the month. Time for Art Walk in downtown Oshkosh. If you have never been to the Art Walk this is your chance to see and be seen. It is unpredictable, boring, eye-catching, new, old, sometimes shocking; and just plain fun to nose around all of these old downtown stores. It is so pleasant to see cars parked everywhere on an early Saturday evening, the sidewalks busy with folks wandering from store to store. Each Art Walk has 20 to 25 different locations and maps can be found in store windows or by asking for one. It is of course free.

Keep your eyes open. Something tells me that people running for city council may be around on Saturday. I would suggest that the candidates who did not have their picture publicized should wear name tags, large ones. (Paying attention Mary?) This is your chance to meet current members and possibly future members of the council.

It runs from 6-9pm Saturday night. Enjoy the evening.

Next Tuesday there is a concert at the Congregational Church downtown. The concert begins promptly at noon with a soup and sandwich lunch to follow (donation). This is always a treat and the food is fantastic. This is open to the public. Be there! For more go here: