Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hey, Copps, WTF?!

Didn't you just remodel your northside store a couple years ago? I finally learned where everything is, and now you're remodelling again. Why? It's not like you've added space or got rid of the liquor or made other major changes. You're just randomly shuffling things for no good reason. Do you get a tax break during years in which you are remodelling? The only reason I shop there is because it's more convenient than Woodman's. I think they've about finished with their remodelling...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Vengeful River Gods Denied Another Sacrifice

The La Crosse Tribune reported the following item today:
22-year-old man found drunk, lost and down by the Mississippi River

There have been numerous drownings in La Crosse over the years, some in the Mississippi River, some in the Black River. They are usually college-age men with a lot of alcohol in their system (one had a blood-alcohol level of .40). They are most common around Halloween or Oktoberfest, when college students from around the Midwest converge on La Crosse to get wasted. Each death was investigated and determined to be an accident (or, in one bridge-jumping case, possibly suicide).

Despite this, there are many people (some of them family members of past drowning victims), who believe there is a serial killer who preys on young men by getting them drunk and luring them into the water. Why else would they be so far from their apartments, having traveled in the opposite direction when they left their friends at the downtown bars? Maybe because being really drunk messes with your sense of direction. The issue is summarized in a tongue-in-cheek fashion by this music video.

I suppose one could believe that the serial killer drugged the young man yesterday to confuse him and lure him into the water, but the killer fled when police approached. Or that the police made up the story to cover up the fact that there is a serial killer (scroll down and read the comment from canuread) One could also believe that Barack H. Obama, Jr. was born in Kenya.

I have another theory. Wisconsin is known for crazy cults. I think there is a River God(s) cult that performs sacrifices during Oktoberfest and Halloween (both ancient pagan European harvest festivals). The cultists are townies, and they select UW-L students and out-of-town tourists as their sacrifices because they feel no sense of kinship with them (and don't know their parents). Since it isn't a single killer, that explains the differences in M.O. for each death.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jury Rejects Pathetic Loser Defense

Nicholas Grunke, one of the three Cassville men arrested in 2006 for attempted grave robbery with necrophiliac intent, was finally convicted today (after an earlier mis-trial).

The defense tried to argue that he was just a shy young man with no girlfriends who wanted to pose the body in a nonsexual way.

Right. Because shy men with no girlfriends who exhume female corpses couldn't possibly mean any harm.

Asshole. I'm glad they caught him before he started preying on live women.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bring on the Carnies with Needles

I just got back from the Dane County Fair. I had fun perusing the crap booths near the midway on my way to get my mini-donut fix. The oddest one I saw was "Tatoos and Body Piercing" -- not temporary tattoos (there was another booth offering henna tattoos), but permanent ones. I saw a tattoo artist who looked like an extra from Easy Rider working on a customer as I walked by. It boggled my mind that anyone would decide to get a tattoo or body piercing from a group of travelling practitioners at a carnival. It might make sense in the more rural counties where the kids don't have access to quality tattoo studios, but in Madison?

Also observed at the fair, a child in the 7-9 age range, saying to his parents: "I want deep-fried cheese curds and a cream puff." The younger generation is upholding Wisconsin's fine tradition of obesity.

Friday, July 17, 2009

It Could Have Been Worse...

I took an unplanned detour on my way to work this morning when I encountered this. From my vantage point, at the back of a line of unmoving vehicles, right by the exit ramp for I-90/94 West, all I could see were the emergency vehicles. I knew it must be a very messy accident, but I had no idea that a truckload of chelada-style beer (lime-flavored) was spilling onto the highway. I don't think the incident will help sales:

“Trust me, after smelling this — I was like bathing in it — I don’t want any of it,” tow team worker Sean Carnahan said early Friday afternoon.

Worker Nick Hagen agreed: “The smell is kind of overpowering when you get that much of it on the road.”

It could have been worse. It could have been Budweiser + Clamato.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Real-Life Version of "The Blob"

Fans of the 1958 Steve McQueen sci-fi/horror classic The Blob may be interested in this news item from Alaska that has nothing to do with Sarah Palin.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, the U.S. Coast Guard is investigating a large mass of black goo that is not an oil slick, floating north miles offshore. The blob seems to be killing the sea creatures that come in contact with it, including jellyfish and at least one unfortunate goose. It reportedly has a distinct odor (I wonder if it smells like rotting jellyfish and geese).

Theories include an algae bloom or "some sort of naturally occurring organic or otherwise marine organism," according to Coast Guard P.O. 1st Class Terry Hasenauer.

I was not aware that there are inorganic marine organisms. I guess one learns something new every day.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Power to the People

Newly-famous artist Shepard Fairey (who created the iconic Obama "Hope" poster) has created a portrait of Burmese human rights Activist Aung San Suu Kyi, in order to raise awareness of her continued house arrest.

Did he really mean to make her look so much like Yoko Ono?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Will Adrian Zmed Get a Cameo?

The Onion A-V Club reported this week that The Weinstein Company will produce a movie version of T. J. Hooker, the 1980s cop show that starred William Shatner. Since I first saw it in The Onion, I hoped it was a joke. Unfortunately, the story is corroborated by industry mag Variety.

Is anyone actually nostalgic for T. J. Hooker? Besides Adrien Zmed, that is?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

What Will Sarah Palin Do Now?

Will she announce her run for the Presidency in 2012? Or will the former beauty queen and current defender of Family Values settle for being our generation's Anita Bryant?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Fruits of Observing the Geneva Conventions

Several years ago, I read Arnold Krammer's excellent book, Nazi Prisoners of War in America. One of the points he made is that our War Department made a conscious decision to follow the Geneva Conventions to the letter in hopes that the Germans would reciprocate with the American P.O.W.'s that they held.

While the Germans did not feed their prisoners as well as we did (possibly because war-torn Germany faced real food shortages), they treated American P.O.W.'s far better than the Russian P.O.W.'s in their custody.

Another benefit of treating prisoners humanely is that it greatly assisted our government's re-education (and de-Nazification) efforts. The long train ride across the U.S. to the prison camps did more to counter-act Hitler's propaganda than any debriefing from our War Department. Instead of a bombed-out nation struggling to survive, the prisoners saw miles of farmland and peaceful, prosperous towns where virtually everyone had an automobile. It is no wonder that post-war West Germany embraced U.S. economic and cultural practices so whole-heartedly.

Krammer mentioned that many former P.O.W.'s returned to the U.S. years after the war, some as immigrants fleeing poverty, but many as tourists who brought their families to visit the country for which they had developed a great affection while they were prisoners here. Employees at one gift shop in Arizona near the site of a former camp could always spot the former prisoners, because they bought a postcard showing the view of the mountains as seen from the former prison camp (apparently the postcard was not sufficiently scenic to appeal to anyone else).

One former prisoner who later settled in Wisconsin passed away on Sunday at the age of 87. Kurt Pechmann was a stonecutter, a monument-maker by trade. The Wisconsin State Journal ran an article about him yesterday. This is what I found most interesting:

He helped build, often at or below cost, war memorials around Wisconsin. In 1986, when the Veterans Memorial Monument at Forest Hill Cemetery was vandalized, he volunteered his services...“Dad still likes giving back to veterans,” said Gerhard Pechmann, who now runs the family monument business. “It was, and still is, his way of saying thanks for what they did so we can have the freedom to do what we want.”

Somehow, I doubt that many former Gitmo or Bagram detainees will one day be saying thanks for what our soldiers did.