Tuesday, September 2, 2014

WiscONsin

When we were in Springfield ILL this past weekend we went to a huge liqueur store to bring back beer we can't get in WiscONsin.    While looking there was another couple looking for beer to take back to St. Louis for the same reason we were there.  I said we were from WiscONsin and made the horrific mistake of saying the word "WiscONson" more then once in a sentence.

You see when we were in the US Virgin Islands hanging out on Trunk Bay on one of the top beautiful beaches in the world a family starts setting up a little ways from us and as we listened to their conversation  . . . .OH MY GOD . . . . . DJ and I looked at each other. . ..  We ask "hey, where are you guys from?" . . . . .Milwaukee WiscONsin.

sigh!

If you say WiscONsin more then once in a sentence you might as well just pick up a banjo and start strumming Deliverance or something.  

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Want to know the 21 most miserable countries in the world??    

22. Finland Inflation  0.3%  Unemployment 11.5% 
21. Chile Inflation  0.3%  Unemployment 11.5%     
20. Brazil Inflation  6.5%  Unemployment 4.9%%     
19. Poland Inflation  0.3%  Unemployment 11.5%     
18. Ireland Inflation  0.3%  Unemployment 11.5%     
17. Philippines Inflation  4.9%  Unemployment 7.0%     
16. Russia Inflation  7.5%  Unemployment  4.9%%     
15. Slovakia Inflation  -0.1%  Unemployment 12.7%     
14. Italy Inflation  0.3%  Unemployment 12.7%     
13. Slovenia Inflation  -0.9%  Unemployment 13.9%     
12. Portugal Inflation  -0.9%  Unemployment 13.9%     
11. Columbia Inflation  2.9%  Unemployment 10.7% *32% live in poverty     
10. Ukrain Inflation  12.9%  Unemployment  1.6%         
9. Uruguay Inflation  9.1%  Unemployment  6.9%
8. Croatia Inflation  -0.1%  Unemployment 17.8%
7. Turkey Inflation  9.3%  Unemployment 8.8%
6. Egypt Inflation  10.6%  Unemployment 13.3%
5. Portugal Inflation  -0.9%  Unemployment 13.9%
4. Spain Inflation  -0.3%  Unemployment 24.3%
3. Greece Inflation  0.7%  Unemployment 27.8%
2. South Africa Inflation  6.3%  Unemployment 25.5%
1.Venezuela Inflation  52.7%  Unemployment 7.1%

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While in Springfield we visited a new HyVee, the greatest grocery store in the world and THIS one is the BIGGEST HyVee and OMG - it was amazing.  Not sure how to describe it but it makes Madison look quaint and it was quiet.  The floors absorbed sound or something.   

BUT - I did wonder about these. 



WTF???   Hedgeballs????   What???   Then we go for a drive around with my mom and see these things hanging from trees!   hmmmmmmmm    How can I make beer out of them.

BTW - My Double Chocolate Stout is my next when my East Indian Porter after that.  

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CATS!!  

The Brewers have sucked since one of our cats did this!  

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PRODUCTS YOU NEED! 

This was at HyVee we both laughed at the little ad but then DJ ordered some - I'll let you know how it works. 


100 reviews - 4.8 out of 5 stars - it does not cover-up - it changes! 

In the frozen pizza aisle we tried an O'Gradys Pizza and it's pretty darn good! 



Eat one and then use the other!
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Driving through a number of ILL towns I gotta say that while Columbus would LIKE a better downtown, it's not like we are REALLY suffering. Columbus as a whole is doing well, let's not get all hand wringy and say we are doomed.  That is a line for the conservative's who thrive on fear. Columbus is fine . . . . but can be so much better.  

I'm going to be working on a downtown study maybe later today.  I think there is a lot of flawed numbers floating around about our downtown area and I want to see first hand, non-anecdotal numbers.

Off to work!

RM  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Land of Lincoln and Gunslingers.

Heading to the Land of Lincoln today - Springfield ILL.  If you ever get that way make sure you check out the Lincoln Museum which is unlike any museum I have ever been too. It's awesome and was designed by the same people that created Disney World (or whatever).

It is also, sadly,  the home of a Statehouse that is more colorful and beautiful then Wisconsin, although Wisconsin has more grandeur.

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If you ever have a chance to watch "Gunslingers" on the American Hero Channel (formally called the Military Channel) it's a very very good historical docudrama on six of the old west gunslingers, Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok (played by Walt Willey of "All My Children") ,Tom Horn (the hit man of the old west) and John Wesley Hardin.

You see why they did what they did and how it is not all black and white on why they killed so many people.  Fascinating - probably on Netflix sooner or later.

Wild Bill was the real deal.  If you take all the cliche' westerns and put them together THAT is the real Wild Bill Hickok. He invented the shootout on main street.  

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Sorry about yesterdays rant on roads.  YES - we need to make sure Columbus roads are in the best shape we can make them, there is no argument on that from me.

And does Sun Prairie have fiber optic cable already?  A friend of mine signed up for fiber optic a few days ago dumping Charter.  It's actually a little more expensive and slower then Charter but they have 5 different plans.

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Trying something new.  What if I put that on a BIG canvas.  hmmmmmmm


Since I'm pretty sure this blog gets read 90% of the time from work no blog until Tuesday.

Have a great weekend.

RM


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Are Columbus roads really that bad? Aaron Rogers, Evil Roy Slade

September 5th 1967 - I was a kid watching a movie on TV and it was the funniest movie I had ever seen.  Pee my pants funny!  The movie was called "Sheriff Who" starring John Astin as Evil Roy Slade, although I never knew the name of the flick.  I have been looking for that movie for literally decades  It has stuck in my brain.

Last night after my great round of golf (I won low net yet again) I was channel surfing and came across a movie called "A Man Called Sledge" and my heart jumped.  Nope that was not it.  So I went to IMDB and looked for John Astin and found it.     

Here is the weird thing.  In the reviews it says 

"The thing is, those fortunate few who saw Sheriff Who? in its only airing on September 5, 1967 claim it is one of the funniest half-hours of all time."

"The lead actors were great and it was amazingly funny to my younger self "

"It was hilarious."

"I was 11 years old when I saw this show and I remember that it was very very funny."
YEA YEA - I'm with you guys.  All I remember was that for five decades it was the funniest thing I had ever seen in my life!   At least I know what it was now.
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Roads Roads Roads

I have not completed my number crunching but being a sabr mathematician kind of guy that really hates anecdotal facts, I wanted to see just how bad  the roads were in Columbus since it seems EVERYBODY hates roads.

And knowing that if we fixed all the roads people would STILL complain about the roads and if you go to almost any town in America the main complaint would be roads roads roads.  I wanted to know   HOW BAD OUR ROADS REALLY ARE compared to other towns.

So I contacted our city engineer to see if he could rustle up some more WISLR numbers from the State. You see every street in every town is rated on a 1-10 scale so cities have an idea of where they are.

I had the Columbus numbers but what about other towns.

Columbus WISLR Ratings 1= poor  10=awesome
1-2 = 11%
3-4 = 17%
5-6 = 13%
7-8 = 45%
9-10 = 14%

Well, all I could get were the RAW numbers for every street from a few communities so I went to work compiling on a spread sheet.  Looking at every street and it's length and it's rating.  It's been mind numbing to say the least.

I only have five other towns done but the results are as expected.  Columbus is not as bad as people think.  In fact our roads are much better then Lake Mills (39% 1 to 4) and way better then Edgerton (41% 1 to 4).  We have more bad roads (rated 1-4) then Wisconsin Dells but more GOOD roads (7-10).

Cottage Grove I just wanted to shoot myself with how amazing their roads are but then they are a pretty young town. It would by like comparing a teenagers skin to an 80 year old's.  Fall River is pretty good but seriously, how many roads to they actually have.

I'm not saying that we don't have a road problem but all older towns have this problem.  We get very very few funds from the State who uses the gas tax to fund roads and the gas tax has not changed since 1993.  We are getting 50% LESS money for roads then we did in 1993.

And don't give me this BS about how roads are to blame for Columbus not growing.  Columbus is not growing because we have no reason to grow.  We don't have a natural draw. No lakes, no real attraction except history which we do not do anything with (totally dropped the ball with Public Enemies, did you know we still have people coming to Columbus because of that movie?)

That is why Columbus has to work harder then most places. What we do have is an underutilized downtown with a good number of hobby retail stores that don't really want to work THAT hard to stay in business and then complain that there are no customers. They would rather survive then thrive.

We need to start controlling what happens downtown, how we want to present ourselves to the rest of the world. Unless everybody is happy with the current state of our downtown district.  I keep hearing things like we need to do something . . . but let's not change.

Well, pick a side.

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I read an interesting article about Aaron Rodgers and the Packers from the Nate Silvers team.  The talk about how good Rodgers is but then they show that quarterbacks that play for good teams are naturally good. And since Rodgers took over from Favre the Packers are the 2nd best team in the NFL.

Then they look at Rodgers QBR rating for quarterbacks and how in the last 6 years Rodgers is second to only Peyton Manning.

HOWEVER - the problem with Rodgers is that he does not throw enough interceptions.

Weird right? Most interceptions come when a team is behind. Calculated risks.  The closer the game the more INTs you throw and when you are down in the 4th quarter you throw more as you assume more and more risk. Rational risk-taking.

Aaron Rodgers is an overly conservative quarterback to a fault.  For instance, he has only six 4th quarter comebacks in his career.  I always assumed this was just that the Packers were not behind enough (Russell Wilson already has 8).  Tom Brady who plays for a pretty good team averages one every 6.2 games,  Rodgers every 14.5 games.  Favre every 9.9 games.

But they say at the end that Rodgers has some low-hanging fruit for improvement and looking how good the Packers are with an ultra conservative QB, if he comes out of his shell just a little the Packers can be even MORE dangerous.

++++++  Side Note ++++

People complain about our downtown's empty buildings and lack of pedestrian traffic. Like Rodgers and the Packers, Columbus has some pretty low-hanging fruit for improvement.  Empty buildings mean we can fill them up.  Unlike Cottage Grove that not only have no downtown business, they have no downtown at all.  We have the buildings, we just need to start filling them up and we need to start showing outside interest that the City Government of Columbus cares.