Who Needs Fireworks When You Have a Cell Phone?

fire-298115_640You just know you’re having a good day when….

you arrive home having cruised the neighborhood on a hover board, while smoking an e-cigarette with a new or replacement Galaxy Note 7 smart phone firmly tucked in your back pocket-and you live to tell about it.

Time to hit the lotto ’cause this is your lucky day.

Actually, your odds of having a battery explode or start a fire are pretty slim out of the 2.5 million phones that are being recalled.

Still, the failures of both the original and replacement phones have resulted in burns, explosions and property damage.

The problem is, Samsung engineers cannot reproduce those failures or identify the cause.

Now all US airlines and others around the world have banned the devices, because of the risk.

Samsung, along with the Consumer Product Safety Commission has requested that those who own either an original Note 7 or a replacement, immediately turn them off and return to the place of purchase for refund.

Click the link below to learn more about the science behind these exploding batteries and what you can do to  prevent a tragedy. http://sustainable-nano.com/2016/10/13/flaming-cell-phones/ 

Honesty is The Best Policy-Maybe


When I was 9 or 10 years old I stole a bag of licorice from the local grocery store.  The clerk had left the checkout to go the back of the store and I grabbed the candy from behind the counter.

She returned and confronted me as I was heading out the door.  I insisted  I had bought the goods elsewhere and of course, she knew I was lying.  She let me go, and while I was off the hook, the guilt I felt wouldn’t allow me to enjoy it.

It was black licorice. I hate black licorice. To this day I can’t eat the stuff and I’m often reminded of that experience.

My over active conscience has more than once created interesting times for me and more importantly, for my children. I would always return too much change, inform the clerk when I wasn’t charged enough and would even take the $20 found on the sidewalk back into the store or gas station and give it to the attendant, in case someone was looking for it.

What happens to it after that, is on someone else’s conscience.

Today, as adults one of the kids will occasionally call and exclaim, “Honest dad just cost me $10.  Yeah, I took the money back.”

Recently I went shopping for some dress clothes, buying a pair of pants and an overcoat.  The store was busy and a manager opened another checkout to accommodate me and the many others standing in line. She became distracted and I, in a hurry, simply signed the credit card receipt and left.  It wasn’t until I reached the car that I realized I had not been charged for the coat.

I knew that the time spent to straighten this out would put me way behind schedule and could even get me accused of shoplifting, but being me I had no choice but to return and pay for the garment.

Afterwards, the customer service manager professed her renewed sense of faith in humanity and I walked out with a clear conscience, and a 15% discount.

Not that I have never been in the wrong mind you, but when confronted I will fess up and fold like an old tent.

Like the time I was in front of an IRS auditor and could only offer; “Well, it sounded like a good idea at the time.”

In today’s world it seems that honesty quickly gives way to greed, power and the need to win at all costs.

When confronted, politicians, sports figures and business leaders alike, will try to cover up, spin and create that infamous tangled web in order to absolve themselves of wrongdoing.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear one say, “I made a mistake, it was my fault and I accept all responsibility for my actions.”

This deceptive attitude presented by our leaders does in fact trickle down to the general public.  We tend to have ready made excuses for our own lapses in judgment and bad behavior.

Just ask anyone who is incarcerated and they will loudly proclaim their innocence.

About a month ago, I received a shipment of books that were ordered online. The order was complete-exactly what I requested.

Ten days later I received another shipment, the same two books.  Obviously I hadn’t ordered duplicates and my credit card statement confirmed the fact.

Now I am faced with the task of spending $10 in shipping charges and a couple hours of my time to return two books worth $22.00 total, while someone sitting at a call center will be completely lost trying to figure out the transaction.

Forget it, I’m not sending them back. Maybe put ’em on EBAY.

How’s that for being honest?

(Revised from NPR, ‘This I Believe’ Nov. 2009)






Money-making scheme targets older people and veterans | Consumer Information

Source: Money-making scheme targets older people and veterans | Consumer Information

There is a Chicken Story




Getting accustomed to the darkness was the hardest part, that and tripping over unseen equipment, slipping in the mud holes, hitting my head on steel trusses by the wall, things like that.

Then amid the ever present smell of warm, wet feathers and waste, I would struggle to find and grab one leg of a flapping, scratching bird, add it to eight others and carry them to a waiting truck only to return and repeat the process until two thousand were corralled, crated and ready to be moved.

For a thirteen year-old living  in Wild Rose, Wisconsin there were many opportunities for part-time or summer jobs. Most of course were related to farming and picking up things; pickles, potatoes, squash, melons and whatever else could be picked, carried or otherwise handled, or hoed.

It didn’t take long to learn that “making hay” was not along my career path.

Of all the possibilities however, catching chickens was probably the most unusual.

Today few people believe it was even done. My kids think it was just a figment of my overwrought imagination.

Calvin Woodward owned what later came to be known as Midwestern Egg Ranches, with farms in both Wild Rose and Shiocton, Wisconsin.

In the early years, young laying hens were raised at both locations and sold to egg producers throughout the state. Later the operation was expanded to include egg production in Shiocton with a packing and shipping plant in Wild Rose.

Week-old chicks were put in the three steel buildings some six hundred feet long. These were divided into six separate coops, each holding about three thousand birds.

They were fed and cared for, for another twenty weeks, at which time they were loaded into wooden crates and trucked to the egg producing farms. That’s where I came in.

Eight or ten high school kids were hired for the job of catching and loading the chickens.

It was determined that they (the chickens) were easier to catch in the dark when they wouldn’t be spooked so easily.

Now imagine ten kids stumbling through the darkness, amid feeders and wet chicken sh..avings trying to come up with nine flapping scratching, smelly birds. Then they were carried, feathers flying, to the waiting truck until four or five hours later, all would be caught and loaded.

There were always a few wet areas in the coops where the automatic watering troughs malfunctioned, creating more mud and wet stuff to slip, slide and fall into. Or be pushed. In the dark it was hard to know just who the culprit was.

Of the working conditions, Cal would often remind us “don’t drop your gum, but if you do, make sure to pick up the right piece.”

He was a fair boss and it seemed that he could build or repair anything from automatic feeding systems to a truck engine, with a pair of needle-nosed vise grips and a hammer. These tools were always within reach, either in a pocket or hanging like an extra limb from his bib overhauls.

There were many other duties included in the “poultry herder” job description.

The mortality rate for young chicks was extremely high and the deceased needed to be removed daily. Then there was the culling, debeaking, washing and cleaning the hundreds of water troughs and of course,  plenty of shoveling.

Garth Towne was a local farmer who volunteered to come in and clean out the buildings after the chickens were gone. He would whistle while he worked with an oversized scoop shovel, not even breaking a sweat while I and cohort Larry Atkinson would struggle just to get half a shovel full into the truck.

He claimed that the smelly mixture of manure and wood shavings was guaranteed to “grow tall corn and big pickles.”

Fresh shavings were then trucked in, brooders cleaned and the building made ready for the next batch of chicks which as you might expect, arrived in cardboard crates and were unloaded by hand.

There is nothing left today that hints at the thousands of chickens, perhaps millions of eggs that were produced north of Wild Rose along Highway 22. The land, buildings and production facility  was sold and became part of the Wild Rose Fish Hatchery expansion.

Working with both chickens and their eggs would sustain me for several years through high school, college, before and after the military and in between jobs.

Starting wage for a poultry herder in 1963 was, 85 cents an hour-and all the gum you could find.




Walled In

Joe had it all figured out. Three fourteen foot walls, tied to the back of the basement, seven feet high, 675 bricks per wall give or take, plus mortar.

Of course it all had to be carried down a hundred year old wooden stairway not built to modern day building codes.

No railing, uneven steps, each creaking under the weight of both me and the load. A dozen clay bricks at time meant 168 trips up and down those infernal stairs.

No wonder my back was killing me, my knees hurt and my head still throbbed from hitting it on the floor joist above the last step.

But finally, the job was done.

Joe had the honor of laying the very last brick having first layered the adjoining ones with mortar, trimmed the excess and finishing with a joining trowel.

“There it is. Take a break, I’ll get us a cold one,” he said as he retreated to the upstairs of the Victorian style home.

As I stood waiting in the coolness of the stone basement, I admired our handiwork. After all, who would have thought the two of us could ever build a room of any kind let alone one of brick. The corners looked square, the courses overlapped just like they should and the mortar joints were nice and even, as though a fine craftsman had done the job.

Then it dawned on me. There was no door. No door? No opening whatsoever. No way to actually get into the room. Just how in the world could we have done such a thing?

I don’t believe it. No door.

I examined the walls on all sides just to make sure. Still no door.

All rooms have doors. Kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms-of course bathrooms have doors. Bedrooms have doors. Garages have doors. Rooms have doors-what idiots!

I sat on the old leather sofa of the man cave and kept asking myself just why anyone would build a room with no door? How could we explain this to our wives or the guys who would invariably come over to check out the new addition-minus a door.

First they would  stare, then walk around just like I had done, studying the room, perhaps run their hands around the edges and along the brick surfaces looking for a hidden latch, seam or some indication of an opening.

It would just drive them all crazy to think that there wasn’t a door, but why wouldn’t there be. Then to pretend that there was but not admit that they were the only ones who couldn’t find it. Or to think they knew all along the reason behind the door that wasn’t or was, but just not visible without knowing the secret.

Just then Joe returned with two beers and sat down to admire our handiwork.

“Well what do you think?” “I think it turned out just fine, I replied. We did a pretty good job for a couple  amateurs.”

“Yep, he agreed.  Just that way I planned it.”

A Real Cheesehead!

Our No 1 Cheesehead!
Our No 1 Cheesehead !

Congratulations to Melissa Beyer, Our Number 1 Cheesehead!

“You might be a cheese head if you’re found tailgating for the game at 5 in the morning with your green and gold van full of beer, brats, burgers, cheese curds, and already have a buzz going, and a crowd around you on game day- when the packers are playing out of town!” Melissa Beyer

   Other Notable Cheeseheads


Brian Enders..

“You might be a real cheesehead if during the football season you don’t schedule anything without first taking into account what time the Packers play.”

“That has been passed down from generation to generation.”


Matthew Wilson..

“…if you’ve frozen to death in ice and slush to watch the Packers lose to both the Bears and Vikings at Lambeau, yet still put all of your plans on hold to watch their preseason games in Spanish every year.” ..

Watch for our next contest and you too, could be a winner!