The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Annoyance of the Day

Computer annoyance of the day (too big for Twitter or Facebook): I have been trying to print out a simple set of directions using Streets & Trips 2006. Only one small problem: Every time I've printed them out, the print is backwards and upside down. The map itself is okay; it's the words and writing that are messed up.

Now, there's a Knowledge Base article on that covers this issue. I've read it before, and I believe it's got something to do with bi-directional printing or some ridiculously simple thing.

There's just one problem: it no longer exists. See, apparently Microsoft doesn't keep issues to products that have been replaced by three new versions (2007, 2008 and 2009) around on their website. So, I'm stuck with printouts that are readable if I hold them upside down and backwards - but not if I'm just reading them.

What's strange is, I can print the maps to PDF, and the text comes out OK. The Maps look bad, though.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Weekly Thoughts

Some thoughts for a Saturday Morning in August:
PT Cruiser repair update: My PT Cruiser's vent issue was finally solved on Thursday. The replacement cable came in, and the only thing left to do was remove the old one and put the new one in. So - slip the old cable off its connections to the control levers on both sides, take it out of the clip attaching it to the control panel, and... wait a minute, that's a bolt there stuck all the way back under the dash frame. And the head is recessed enough that my nut driver can't get around it to loosen it.

So, as I'm struggling to figure out how to get it off - and considering snipping the cable off - I realize a neighbor of mine is out in his garage. He has a small wrench that fits, and with a little more help after getting the cable seated right, I finally have the vent system defogging my windows. Putting everything back in was relatively easy compared to that.

I took a good look at the old cable - what had happened was that the cable itself got frayed, probably from years of constant switching and (perhaps) the lever seizing up on the lever atop the vent canister. When the canister got stuck, for whatever reason (I'm still thinking that a seed or twig or something fell into the vent system), the cable got bent from my attempts at switching from vent to defogger.

After seeing how the controls for the HVAC system in my car works, I can only say two things:
  1. It is rather disheartening how Chrysler cut corners on the PT Cruiser by concentrating more on the exterior and looks of the car instead of thinking through the interior and controls, and
  2. Looking at the inside of your car is a little bit like going to a sausage factory or attending a congressional hearing. You know the old saying by John Godfrey Saxe: "Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made."

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I just found out that I start my "furlough" journey this week on Thursday. I got three of the top four days I had selected for my chosen furlough days, and it just happened that my first two "wrap" around my vacation right at the end of this month.

In one way, it's good, but in another, it's not, mostly because it's unclear as to whether or not I can take OT this week.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Big Stories

I had a whole blog post put together on my opinion on something that happened Saturday night, but a lot of things have happened since then to push them to the back burner.

First of all - I fully expect the city/county of Waukesha to get the Highway 164/59 Waukesha Bypass renamed to the Les Paul Memorial Parkway within a short time. My greatest regret is that I never got a chance to meet the man since moving to Waukesha in '93.

Secondly - I have no qualms about the Eagles deciding to sign Mike Vick. Better them to get steamrolled by PETA and the other nut-groups that are going to protest his every move. And I still am not convinced he's going to be anything more than an "anomaly" in the history of the NFL, anyways.

Third - What the heck is up with the Admirals and their weird schedule to start the season? Six straight road games, then six out of seven at home, then another eight straight on the road?

Fourth - When in the world are the Predators going to get their message boards back up and running so I don't have to go crazy blogging and Tweeting?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Black Wednesday

So I wake up, turn on the 'puter, do a few clicky-linkys and find out that the Brewers have, in essence, thrown in the towel for 2009.

Bill Castro fired as pitching coach; J.J. Hardy sent down to Nashville; Bill Hall sent down "for assignment" (IOW, we're about to give him his unconditional release).

A face palm isn't adequate to describe these moves. This is close to "bang your head against the wall" level.

Good Lord, I do NOT want to have to wait 26 years before this team goes back to the post-season again.

Friday, August 07, 2009

We were played.

So even as I'm sitting there, still stewing and wondering how I'm going to replace the remote control I'd thrown at the TV after watching Gary Bettman's press conference, it appears that there were some nefarious acts going on in the Great White North that would lead to me nearly punching out a newspaper box outside a Waffle House a few years later.

In all the lovely stuff that's been happening with the Phoenix Coyotes, a little piece of information has come out that the sale of the Nashville Predators back in 2007 was started - not because Craig Leipold was getting tired of owning them, nor was it because he wanted to own the Wild instead - but because Richard "Just Chill" Rodier was trying to undermine the continued existence of the team by some very underhanded means.

Rodier, apparently a good two years prior to asking Leipold about purchasing the team, inquired about the lease terms between the team and the city of Nashville - by contacting the city's Director of Finance. In early March, there started to be a bunch of articles in the TG&M about the "financial difficulties" of the Predators. Part of the articles related that the terms of the lease agreement might not be met because of the lockout.

Guess what happened two months later? Yep, Metro Nashville asked the Preds for their financials, because there was all this "media frenzy" about it. And, apparently Rodier was arguing that the only physical assets of the team were hockey pucks.

(pause here for meaningful eye rolling)

This began two years of bickering and arguing between MDC and the Predators about their lease. And it made the situation that eventually led to the Predators' sale to David Freeman and company that much more difficult.

Guess what - that's only the TIP OF THE ICEBERG. Leipold also mentions that Balsillie and Rodier were negotiating to purchase the team while all along planning on moving the team to Hamilton. (Which, of course, Predator fans already knew after went live.) In fact, it was the very first Terms of Sale Sheet that Ballsy gave CL. CL rejected it, but Ballsy basically presumed from that point until the team was sold to Freeman that the team was his to do whatever he (blankety-blank) well wished.

And then there was Rodier's attempt at trying to sic the Canadian Competition Bureau on CL and the NHL. Guess what, Canadian taxpayers? For the next 10 months, your federal government spent your money to determine that Ballsy and Rodent were acting stupid.

I'm not happy as to how CL ended up dumping the Preds and then scrambling to purchase the Wild instead. That hurt a lot. But as it turns out, he wasn't the bad guy in all this.

I have claimed over on the Predators message boards that the whole story of Balsillie's attempts at getting into the NHL should be published, like either Lords of the Realm or Barbarians at the Gate. Unfortunately, such a book would probably not be able to make print until sometime in like 2014, because you know Rodier would sue the publisher.

Too bad, because Dirty Ice: How Jim Balsillie Tried To Break Into The NHL would be a VERY interesting read.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

So Whaddya Do?

Twitter's down, Facebook's acting up. So what do you do? You blog.

Defcon17 is happening right now in Vegas, and I understand that they do little "warmup" exercises to show their L337 H4Kzor Skillz (or something like that).

Of course, Twitter's server can't take high loads to begin with, but hey.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?

This may come to a complete shock to those of you who haven't known me for a long time, but at one time I was really into Christian Rock music. I got away from it after I was married, partly because of the distance and partly because I was getting more into "regular" rock and roll at the time.

One of the things I've always loved about River Glen Christian Church in Waukesha (point of order: the church is about as "Waukesha" as I am; they're located halfway beteween Wales and Genessee Depot - but I digress) is that they use contemporary worship music. As much as I kid with Jamie Formea and Sarah Huckaby about the "Chris Tomlin Song of the Week", it was that very music that got me back and hooked on Christian music again.

Only one thing bothered me (and still does): I didn't recognize many of the names I was hearing in the service, or on the radio (when I started listening to K-Love and The Message), or on iTunes. I started openly wondering - where are the guys, gals and groups that I know? Of course, I already knew what happened to my favorite band, Petra (they retired in 2000). And Amy Grant - well, I know what happened there. But what about Mylon? Or Stryper? Or Steve Taylor?

Now, I can imagine some people who're reading this and aren't quite that old are saying that magic word: "Who?" Well, I can help fill you in on some of that. I tracked down a book I was given back when I was in high school, titled Why Knock Rock? by Dan and Steve Peters. It's a good analysis of the pitfalls of Rock and Roll - some of which doesn't really apply anymore, and some of which does. However, there's one section where the authors list artists that were popular in Contemporary Christian Music 25 years ago. I provide you all with the list of the ones that I either know, or have heard, or (in those strange instances) have heard live in concert:
  • Keith Green (Rest in Peace)
  • DeGarmo and Key
  • Joe English
  • Phil Keaggy
  • David Meece
  • Second Chapter of Acts
  • Mylon LeFevre & Broken Heart
  • Petra (of course)
  • Leslie Phillips
  • Rick Cua (still rockin', by the way)
  • Larry Norman (also RIP, sadly)
  • Resurrection (aka "Rez") Band (also retired)
  • Isaac Air Freight (comedy troupe)
  • David & The Giants
  • The 77's
  • Darrell Mansfield Band (though I don't remember their sound much)
  • Sweet Comfort Band (they broke up right before I started getting into CCM)
  • Daniel Amos
  • Jerusalem (I love some of their videos)
  • Steve Taylor (I wanna be a clone!)
  • Sheila Walsh
  • Carmen Licciardello (aka Carmen)
  • The Imperials
  • Russ Taff (a former member of the Imperials)
  • Benny Hester
  • Debby Boone
  • Andrus Blackwood
  • Dallas Holm & Praise
  • Michael & Stormie Omartian
  • Chris Christian
  • Leon Patillo
  • Randy Stonehill
  • Silverwind
  • Farrel and Farrel (Hosanna Gloria!)
  • Whiteheart
  • Michelle Pillar
  • Sandy Patty
  • Andrae Crouch
  • Brown Bannister
  • John Michael Talbot
  • Twila Paris
  • Cynthia Clawson
  • Michael Card
  • Phil Driscoll
  • B.J. Thomas
  • Michael W. Smith
That last one threw me a bit at one point. See, I'm sitting there, listening hard to try to see if I recognize any of the music on K-Love the first time I tuned in, and then all of a sudden this guitar riff starts playing, and I hear this voice... nah, that can't be him, can it? Sure enough, it's Michael. It made my heard glad a few weeks later when we actually sang, "A New Hallelujah" in our worship service at River Glen. 25 years ago, I'd have never guessed I'd sing a Michael W. Smith song during a church service.

What I wouldn't mind, though, is hearing some of these again. It's been a long time, obviously, and I will freely admit that I didn't hear everything back in those days - CCM was more of an
"indie" music style than anything else back when I was in school. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't be willing to give a couple of songs a go at some point.

Here's what I've been thinking about doing: start with Petra's "More Power To Ya", then Keith Green's powerful "There Is A Redeemer", and then "Sail On", the song written by Chris Christian and performed wonderfully by the Imperials. Then, to bring it all home, we go all the way back to the song considered the first Christian Rock song: "Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?" Of course, it'd be one thing to do it as a one-off, one service thing... THREE services in one weekend might be difficult.

Still... I'd love to hear something old-school in a service, at some point. I mean, they didn't exactly sing hymns back then. (Right, Mr. Taylor?)