Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Delusions or Disillusioned?

Winter can make one a bit delusional. Cabin fever enters into this, although lack of same can do it too. Having a cabin is the answer. Go there, pray for snow. Enough white stuff to force you to hole up for three days with no TV and internet. Food, firewood, a lantern and a few good books would do.

Delusion is the word that came to mind when I listened to Accordian Man detail his latest rant about society in front of the Oshkosh Public Library. He detailed his love for Hillary Clinton and his unwavering support for her. He told me of the MSM asking her if she had the wherewithal to deal with stubborn world leaders who might lie on occasion. She mentioned something to the effect of having some first-hand knowledge in this area. This cracks up Accordian Man. He wants more. Tells me Hillary should run the country for eight years followed by Obama for another eight. He sez that Hillary already ran the country for an eight year span in the '90's, at least every Republican he knows convinced him of this, and he doesn't remember anyone being out of work then!

People are asking me about this War thing with Iran. Back up and do the homework. Read the Project for the New American Century. John Lemberger told me two or three years ago that Iran was next. It's nothing new. The Bush League is merchandising it the same way they did Iraq.

But wait?

Isn't Iraq in a Civil War? Two sides fighting each other? Of course! Iran is financing one side. Faux Knews tells us this several times an hour. The Bush League Merchandising Team doesn't want you to know this but someone's financing the other side. That would be Saudi Arabia. MSM is not going to detail this until CITIZEN BLOGGERS force the issue.

Get it. The Sunnis and Shiites murder each other with U.S. soldiers standing inbetween. One side is financed by Iran, the other by Saudi Arabia. MSM (and others) are terrified over dealing with the Saudi Arabian end of this. It comes down to this: Free flow of oil to the U.S.

Anyone in Oshkosh who has attempted to keep their neighbors awake half the night around July 4 knows it takes hard cash (or plastic) to pay for those loud noises. Bombs Bursting over Bagdad costs big bucks. Iran and Saudi Arabia pay part of it and the U.S. is going in debt for the rest.

Do everyone a big favor the next time Iran is mentioned in conversation (or on the news). Demand that Saudi Arabia gets equal time.

Time to bring this home. A soldier from north of Oshkosh has died. His name: Jon St. John. Thus ends life for him, the dreams of his parents and all the things that might have been. A tragedy.

Another family in Oshkosh is facing a crisis. Mom and dad have two children, just lost their health insurance due to Oshkosh Public Library cutbacks, and mom just found out she is pregnant. A third child on the way along with a whopping medical bill. Another tragedy.

I know none of the above mentioned people. The stories are as different as life and death but a common thread weaves its way through them. The serviceman deserved to live. The library employee needed the insurance to keep a sense of calm in the family. That thread is a government which has an open wallet for war and a closed wallet at home.

It's time to close the wallet abroad and open it at home. Everyone will be a lot happier.

Accordian Man might be happier too, that is if his disability claim comes through before he's dead.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Emergency Food & Shelter (FEMA) Board Meeting

On Wednesday January 24, 2007 the Board meeting was held for the allotment of funds provided to Winnebago County by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The funds are distributed by the Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP) Board. It was held at the Hooper Community Center, 36 Broad Street.

The 2007 award for Winnebago County is $86,833, a significant increase of 91.6% in funding from 2006.

A general review of emergency food and shelter needs preceded a review of funding requests by various agencies and then award amounts were determined and voted upon.

Requests came from seven agencies:
  • American Red Cross, East Central WI
  • American Red Cross, Neenah-Menasha
  • Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services
  • Ecumenical Food Pantry (located at Trinity Episcopal Church)
  • Emergency Shelter of Fox Valley
  • LEAVEN (Menasha)
  • Salvation Army-Oshkosh

Highlights include the Christine Ann Center which was awarded $15,900 for 2007. The Ecumenical Food Pantry was awarded $2,232. About seven area churches contribute and run the pantry which operates out of Trinity Episcopal. $6,675 was awarded to the Emergency Shelter of Fox Valley, located in Appleton, which assists in housing Oshkosh homeless. The Oshkosh Salvation Army received almost $6,000 in 2006 but scaled back their request for $1,000 this coming year. Captain Johnny Harsh remarked that the people of Oshkosh came through in great fashion this past year and not as much was needed. The Salv. Army served over 64,000 meals in 2006.

A new application was made by the Trinity Episcopal Church 'Loaves and Fishes' program. They serve about 70 meals twice a month on Saturdays. This is the first time they applied. Their meal program complements the Salvation Army program in that the Army is not open on Saturdays. Discussion followed the presentation which asked for $1,000. Further discussion centered around the possibility of them expanding their program to all Saturdays. Eventually a vote was taken and it was decided to award them $1,000, and possibly award them another $1,000 if the program expands. They served an estimated 1,118 meals in 2006.

The EFSP Board includes members of many social service organizations in the area and yes, I am on this board as an advocate for the homeless.

If anyone would like detailed reports on the EFSP Board and FEMA allotments, please use the email address on the top left and I will assist in directing you.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Lake Winnebago Ice Depth

The Lake Winnebago Ice Depth Chart is finally online and you can check it by clicking on the link directly to your left. It says 3-inches today. That's based on reports of fishermen and would certainly not be true of the entire lake. Timely reports on fishing activity can be found by clicking on 'fish reports' on the same page. Question: Would a fisherman really let on the location of the best fishing?

In another fish story...

Dubya is gonna speak on the State of the Onion tonight. My advice is FOLLOW THE MONEY! 20,000 more troops is good for Halliburton's lunch program and not much else. The health care proposal will dumb down many great health programs by lowering benefits. Does anyone really think premiums will come down? The number of uninsured is 47 million and rising and Dubya won't touch that...blah...blah...blah.

I wouldn't doubt that TV news programs may suffer for viewers tonight. Good night to tune in the Nat'l Geographic channel, -or maybe just turn on the weather channel and read a book.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Eagle Watching Days - Sauk City,WI

"There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot." Those are the opening words of Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac.

The ones who cannot may be drawn to the Sauk City, Prairie du Sac area this weekend for Eagle Watching Days. For more information please click here.

The official program can be found at this site.

Sauk Prairie, a name which refers to the twin cities, is much more than just a home for the widely known Cow Chip Toss. There is something of value going on year round. Take Hy60 west of Columbus and don't spend too much time looking for Susie the Duck in Lodi. Once a person gets west of the intersection with the Interstate System the countryside changes. The driftless area is hills and valleys, a nice change from Oshkosh.

I have been re-reading George Vukelich's A North Country Notebook this month. George called his radio personality Papa Hambone and had a radio show on WPR for many years. He would often open the show with the above Aldo Leopold quote and like Leopold, speak to those hills and valleys in the southwest area of the state. Papa Hambone's voice became silent with the death of George V. in 1995. Silence speaks volumes and Papa Hambone was the master of the 'pregnant pause'. He could say more with that pause after a comma, than anyone I know.

Papa Hambone spoke often of Wisconsin's John Muir, also Leopold's beloved Shack on the Wisconsin River, and also of the mid-west's most prolific writer: August Derleth, who spent almost every day of his life in the Sauk City area.

The Oshkosh Public Library catalog shows way over 100 items for August Derleth. I am reprinting today one page from his book "Wisconsin Country -A Sac Prairie Journal", in the hope that more readers take an interest in him.

This entry concerns Ferry Bluff, which now allows no human activity in the winter. It is an Eagle Preserve south of Sauk City.

Notes: This came out in 1965, from a journal kept in the 40's/50's. It is the story of a trip to Ferry Bluff. The Author, August Derleth, had been there many times..., but never in winter. I reprint here the entirety of Page 21 from this book. It begins with a reference to a previous work. Enjoy.


25 JANUARY: Lee Galpin wrote today that a certain kindhearted matron in one of the state hospitals was in the habit of reading my books to the patients, "when they're strapped down and can't do anything about it."

I went out this afternoon with George Henn, Carl Lachsmund, and Rob Seitz to climb the Cactus and Ferry Bluffs along the Wisconsin, marking the boundaries of property there. The afternoon was mellow, and the sun shone brightly. Snow, unbroken by any human footprint, lay deep over everthing, making the hill slopes singularly beautiful, especially in the contrast of snowy slopes and dark boles set against the Wisconsin's cobalt and the lighter blue of heaven. But though no human tracks broke the snow, there were marks of animals everywhere---mink tracks, a deer run, the signs of rabbits, squirrels, mice, birds, of fox trails crossing and criss-crossing among the trees. The climb was exhilarating, though for a time tiring. If one sits too long at a desk without deviation from the pattern, even the most pleasurable of diversions can become wearing. I had not before been on top of the bluffs in winter, perhaps in fear of the danger of slipping and sliding down the treacherous declivity into the Wisconsin, and at the crest of the hill I stood for a long time looking out over the snow-covered land to the villages---Sac Prairie, Roxbury, Mazomanie---and the Baraboo bluffs along the northern rim of sky and earth, in a kind of blue sheen, that familiar winter blue of snow and air, following the great curve of the Wisconsin from the northwest into the southwest, and reflecting anew in this soundless vastness upon the transitory insignificance of man against the enduring earth.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I did a very unscientific poll on Dubya's announcement that he wants to send 21,000 more troops to Iraq. Got remarks such as... "is he nuts?", "he should send his daughters", "the 21,000 should refuse to go", "the 21,000 should go over there and escort the rest back home", and many more likewise comments.

The weather outside is...

What's happening? The Merrimac Ferry is still running! Lake Mendota is open, same for Winnebago. The ice depth chart for Lake Winnebago is not online yet. Strange - strange.

In the scheme of life here in the not-so-frozen tundra it goes like this:
  • After January 15th the temperature no longer stays below zero for 24 hours.
  • After February 15th the temperature seldom goes below zero.
  • After March 15th it still snows but melts within days if you don't shovel.

March 17th will be the day to watch this spring. Johnny Carson once remarked that there were only two places to be on St. Pat's Day...Dublin, Ireland and Oshkosh, Wisconsin. That was before UWO moved spring break to coincide with the Patron's Day of drinking green beer and doing property damage. This year UWO decided to keep class in session and here's my prediction:

A quiet night, lots of overtime for the gendarmes, and the usual complaining about that overtime.

The employees of the Salvation Army have a paid holiday Monday. Good for them. This should serve as an inspiration for other employers to do the same.

"A nation that continues, year after year, to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death" -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

I borrowed that from the Side Street. Thanks Jody. Jody brought up something that I'd never thought about. I always thought that Dr. King was speaking to everyone, not just blacks.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Martin Luther King Event

The Winnebago Peace & Justice Center has organized the 5th Annual March with Martin, MLK event and Town Hall Forum.

On Monday, January 15 members of the Oshkosh Community will gather at the New Moon Cafe, 410 N. Main Street, at 4pm for sign making and an event kick off speech just the way Martin would do it. At 4:20 p.m. the crowd will march down Algoma Blvd. to Reeve Memorial Union, 748 Algoma Blvd., to remember the life and the dreams of Martin Luther King Jr.

At 4:45 p.m. members of the community, city of Oshkosh Candidates and Officials as well as community leaders and organizations will meet in Reeve Union 202 to talk about King's legacy and discuss how our community struggles to make King's dreams our realities. A Town Hall Forum will follow and the focus will be poverty, social, and economic justice issues within the greater Oshkosh area. The public is invited to attend, we encourage their participation, and we look forward to discussing issues important to our community. This will be a great opportunity to come together and address these important topics.

At 6:30 p.m. there will be a FREE community dinner at the Winnebago Peace and Justice Center, 321 Market St.. Everyone is invited to enjoy this home cooked meal.

Monday January 15, 2007 Schedule of Events:

4:00 Kickoff at the New Moon, Downtown Oshkosh

4:20 March down Algoma Blvd. to Reeve Union

4:45 Keynote speaker at Reeve Union, Room 202

5:00: Town Hall Forum on Poverty at Reeve Union, Room 202

6:30 FREE Community Dinner at Winnebago Peace & Justice Center, 321 Market St.

For More information please contact Drew Mueske at 920-292-0386 or Jenni Ryan at 920-379-5746.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Gallery Walk January 6,2007

Welcome the start of a new year with a visit to the Oshkosh Gallery Walk Saturday January 6,2007 from 6-9pm. Twenty-Five locations are shown on the Map/Program which can be found at any of the participating galleries.

A much needed addition to the Art Walk has finally happened and you can view it here:

Our balmy weather is due to end anytime now and you can see the latest forecast by clicking on the link at your left. I suggest starting the walk in two different ways. Begin on the south side at the Blue Room Studio at 800 Oregon St. and make a stop at the other two locations south of the Main St. bridge. An alternate way is to start on North Main at Mod Bod, 683 N. Main and Pedestrian Arts at 664 N. Main. These two galleries on North Main are open from 5pm.

Many other shops are open Saturday evening including Upscale Resale on Market Street. I suspect some of the people running for City Council will be out and about too. Voice your concerns in person and meet the candidates. This ain't the mall. There's no suppression of free speech downtown. It's the new 'in place' to be.

See you there.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Peace Vigil Wednesday 6PM

For updates on any local Oshkosh News item go here: http://www.oshkoshnews.org

There will be a Peace Vigil at 6pm Wednesday evening.
  • WHY? To remember the 3,000-plus deceased soldiers of the Iraq War, the 20 to 30,000 injured soldiers, and the Iraqi dead and injured.
  • WHEN? 6pm Wednesday evening January 3rd.
  • WHERE? Peace Park, Oshkosh. Downtown, corner of Main & Algoma, by the Sundial.
  • Program? Five minutes of silence followed by comments. Everyone welcome.

Informal discussion before and after at the New Moon Cafe.


Bring a flashlight in lieu of candles. Weather conditions as of this writing: Temperature 40, Wind 13mph-sw.

Other vigils may be held in Oshkosh later this week. If I hear about them I will post them here.