Breaking the Speed Limit, and Other Laws

road-932871__340Everyone knows that you can drive 7mph over the posted speed limit without getting stopped, right?

And, everyone knows that politicians subscribe to a different set of laws. Or do they?

Our Mayor has to resign.

Not because what he did was so bad. But because what he did was illegal and he thought he could get away with it.

Although Mayor Jim Schmitt is expected to plead guilty to three misdemeanor charges, records show that he was involved in “illegal or irregular” campaign donations going back to 2011 (Green Bay Press-Gazette, 9/14/2016)

Because once again a political leader decided he was above the law and better than the rest of us.

According to Wikipedia,  crimes committed by our elected officials at the federal level include but unfortunately, are not limited to: improper use of classified materials, illegal campaign contributions, money laundering, theft, bribery, mail fraud, perjury, tax evasion, obstruction of justice, misuse of public funds, embezzlement, extortion, racketeering, voter fraud, drug possession, sexual assault and possessing child pornography.

Anyone who came of age in the seventies can remember  President Richard Nixon addressing the American people through the TV screen proclaiming, “I am not a crook.”

But he was and he was forced to resign the Presidency.

It has become a merry-go-round of “spin and denial” and then blame someone else. They keep the ride going, just waiting for the public to forget or to simply tire of the whole thing.

President William Jefferson Clinton, during the Monica Lewinski scandal had a legion of lawyers arguing over the definition of “sexual relations.” Really? Then they argued over the definition of the word “is”.

Finally, Congress (a whole bunch of lawyers) agreed on the definition of the word, “perjury.”

With that, he was convicted, impeached and his license to practice law in the State of Arkansas, suspended.

The list goes on.

William “Bill” Jefferson (no relation to the former President) Democratic member of Congress from Louisiana, was found with $90,000 in ill-gotten gains stashed in his freezer. Convicted in 2009 of 11 counts of bribery and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Dennis Hastert, Republican from Illinois and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, found guilty of structuring bank transactions to pay some $3.5 million to cover up allegations of sexual abuse when he was a high school teacher and coach.

Richard Renzi, former Republican Congressman from Arizona was found guilty on 17 counts, including wire fraud, conspiracy, extortion, racketeering, money laundering and making false statements to insurance regulators. He was convicted in 2013.

Trivia question: What state can boast that four of their last seven governors have spent time in prison?

Answer: Illinois

At least the Cubs are wining.

As far as that “breaking the speed limit” thing goes…

I have never operated a vehicle above the posted speed limit.

I mean to say that I have never intentionally operated a motor vehicle above the posted speed limit.

There may have been a time or two when the speedometer failed or after purchasing new tires, the vehicle’s speed might have inadvertently exceeded the posted limit.

But once again I can unequivocally say, “I would never intentionally drive above the posted speed limit.”

Unless it was that time when the officer’s radar gun obviously was not calibrated properly or that, as everyone knows, they do have a quota to meet and it might have been the end of the month when my vehicle was targeted.

And there is always that vast “right lane” conspiracy out to get me just because I need to travel in the left hand lane. You know, the fast one.

After all. I do have some place important to go.


You Just Might Be a Cheesehead………..

Cheesehead pic (3)You Might Be a Cheesehead if……

Not everyone can claim to be an authentic “Cheesehead.” But for those who share the legacy of living in, or being from Wisconsin and  avid Packers fans, there is no finer three-cornered mantel to carry.

What better way to kick off the football season than with a contest that answers the question-What makes a real cheesehead?

To enter, just complete the following statement: “You just might be a real “cheesehead” if……..” (“you like cheese curds,” for example).

The best answers will be posted and the Number One Cheesehead will be recognized right here on Catching

The winner will also receive,

A Green and Gold Assortment of Select Cheeses and Seroogy’s Chocolates.

These will be shipped from-where else, but the Cheesehead capital of the world-Green Bay, Wisconsin.

To enter, simply reply in the ‘comment’ section below.

Enter as often as you like but remember, the deadline is September 30, 2016.

You just might become the very first Catching,

Number One Cheesehead!

Good Luck!

P.S. Don’t forget about the prize-free cheese and chocolates!



Saying Goodbye to Newspapers




It was certainly flattering, that e-mail I got from the ‘Press Gazette Insider‘, with an invitation to become an official “insider.” As such I would have access to special deals and chances to win prizes offered only to those accepted  into their interactive “Members Only Program.”

Of course there were some 202,860 others invited to join that elite group (basically every subscriber to both print and digital service).

At least, no one requested, “Mr. Wilson; please do not become an insider or take part in our latest survey…”

The simple fact is: I like the newspaper.

Nothing works better in the morning than a cup of coffee and the local news at the kitchen table. I spread it out and turn the pages, one at a time from front to back, ending with the obits and classifieds.

A newspaper feels good, smells good, can be folded up or taken apart as needed for easier reading.

It can be shared but I don’t like to, especially the Sunday edition. Sundays, I always start with the comics, then the news and sports as my need and mood dictates.

It’s just hard to get comfortable with a webpage. The font is usually too small, the page too cluttered and somewhere between the jumpline and the follow up, I get distracted by a pop up ad, or click in the wrong place and end up linked to a gambling site in Antigua or, I’m invited to chat with a thirty-something  “single” from De Pere, ” looking for mature men.”

And all I wanted to do was read Max Frost.

If you spill coffee on a newspaper, it can still be read after it dries. Try that with your laptop, iPad or smart phone.

A website can be created by a small handful of people (or a really geeky high school kid) complete with updates and maintenance, while the orchestration of my morning routine involves many processes and hundreds of jobs.

First there are the loggers, truck drivers and mill workers, then more truck drivers, press room operators-do they still have press room operators? Then back on the trucks to a distribution center and finally, a delivery person brings it to my front door more likely than not, in a small truck.

Seems like truckers do pretty well in the news business.  Reporters and editors of course are still needed by both media platforms. Copy desk people-where I once worked-not so much.

When all is said and done, a newspaper can be recycled and turned into stuff like toilet paper or fish guts wrapping  or even another newspaper.

                Trees really are a renewable resource, but that’s a story for another day.

I have to admit, it is much easier and quicker to view several newspapers online. If I had to have the ‘The New York Times’, ‘Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’, ‘The Chicago Tribune’ and ‘The Wall Street Journal’  delivered to my doorstep-it would soon be piled high with mostly unread newspapers.

Truckers would still appreciate me though.

The move from print to digital delivery of the news is, I’m sure, based more on economics than reader preference except for those who it seems, can’t walk across a room without the latest and greatest gadget of some sort hanging from their body, like an extra appendage.

Rather than fight change,  I suppose I should embrace it, bite the bullet and learn how to make use of the new media.

There will be a learning curve of course. I’ll have to navigate the pop ups, follow the links, wait for the ads to finish playing, wade through the videos  and maybe even drive to De Pere-for research.





In Love With Spuds

      Love is kind of a strong word.

Let’s just say that I’m affectionate for potatoes. Like the “Bubba-Gump” of potatoes: “boiled potatoes, baked potatoes, fried potatoes, potato salad, American fries, raw fries, even instant potatoes in a pinch.” French fries of course, of all kinds and styles are a much needed compliment to any burger or fish fry.

Then there are potato chips, the salty greasy kind, never baked.

Our collective love affair goes way back. Potatoes have always been a staple in the mid-western diet, sent over from the South American Andes region via European explorers. As the story goes, feudal communities had to disguise the tubers as they were once thought to be poisonous. Thus, mashed potatoes were born.

The Irish of course, came here because they ran out.

“Scalloped potatoes.”

The fresh cut asparagus simply looks on forlorn, while the medium grilled rib-eye is just a flash in the pan. Regardless of variety the potato, remains the apple of my eye.

There’s nothing like a baked in the skin russet to make me salivate like Pavlov’s dogs. Scoop out the pulp and spread some butter inside with a little salt and pepper. What a treat. Why, you could sell those in restaurants…..

Unfortunately, the target of my affection no longer likes me. Calories that used to just metabolize away, don’t anymore. A little pat of butter with bacon, cheese or sour cream goes right to my belt. The leather screams.

I had another affair with tobacco many years ago and ended that one without a hitch but the potato refuses to see the writing on the wall. This could be a messy breakup.

My sources tell me that one medium tuber of the nightshade family contains; 110 calories, 26 grams of carbohydrates and almost zero fat. Vitamins, minerals, fiber and pantothenic acid (whatever that is) are found in abundance, in a potato.

Sailors of old used to carry them on expeditions around the world to ward off scurvy with their reliable source of vitamin C.

Me-I just need to ward off a few pounds.

Most dieticians will tell you that it’s not the potato itself that poses the problem but all the extras: the bacon, cheese, sour cream, gravy, gravy and gravy.

I have since joined a support group. It’s called the “Potato Lover’s Club.” It’s working great. They offer a new recipe every week. I just dined on “mashed with a hint of garlic and oven browned on a cedar plank,” potatoes.

Did you know that the potato is naturally gluten free? That opens the door to a whole new array of uses. Potato pizza, tacos. Potato lasagna!

I suppose I could fall for a carrot, celery, or even fruit. Mashed carrots and gravy? Celery skins? A navel orange stuffed with bacon bits and cheese?

I know. I’ll exercise. Go for a walk. Get a gym membership. No reason to end the relationship at all.

My wife doesn’t mind. We have an open kind of marriage that way. Why, she’ll even eat a salad right in front of me.




What to do with my Powerball Winnings


Hey, I won! I  won! I won the power ball jackpot!


Oh, but did I really?

Now I have to find an attorney, an accountant and a financial advisor that I can trust.



Financial planners say to wait at least six months to claim winnings so as to have a specific plan in place for handling that kind of money-over a billion dollars. I need to keep a low profile and stay anonymous.

How on earth can I be expected to wait? I haven’t slept in four days as it is.

Two questions will have to be answered first. Whether to take the 1.5 billion (dollars) in a lump sum or settle for an annuity paid out over the next twenty nine years.

The lump sum amounts to about $900 million minus state and federal taxes leaving us-yeah I’ll tell my wife about it-with about $435,214,127.32, give or take.

Then we would have to invest that at least in a bond market to get a little more than the .5% the banks are paying in interest,  providing us with an income of $25 million a year minus more taxes.

The annuity on the other hand would give us an annual income of some 40 million (dollars) which again rewards us with a perpetual tax liability.

This assumes that we can actually trust the government to hang on to our money for twenty-nine years.

Not living in Illinois is a plus.

Then there are the relatives. OMG there must be about fifty-six blood relatives and, I expect to hear from about seven hundred very distant cousins.

Some, the most deserving, those with whom I grew up, shared life experiences with, stood up at their weddings, god parents to their babies.

Hmm, nah!

Our close friend who has played the Australian Lottery for over twenty years, always professed to share with us if he ever won.

Forget it!

I doubt now that I will ever see that five thousand I loaned to cousin Fred for his daughter’s kidney operation.

So now we need to set up a trust fund to handle the requests and listen to sob stories from all those freeloaders looking for yet another kidney, pancreas, heart or some other body part that they just can’t live without.

Business ventures with others, especially relatives-definitely out.

Of course, we would have to move.

No way are the neighbors ever going to believe that our lives have not changed and that the snow blower they borrowed was really not a generous gift.

I can hear them now, “Yeah but they don’t really  need the money.”

Our children, their children and the successive generations of offspring will be thinking they never have to work a day in their lives. My progeny I’m afraid,  will eventually evolve into nothing more than glasses wearing slugs.

Giving them nothing will build character.

Giving to the poor is another option, but they’ll just spend it on things, like food.

Maybe we’ll  just blow it all on booze and cruises.

Let’s see, if we had  four hundred million (dollars) to spend that would mean we could take about 40,000 all inclusive trips to the Mediterranean. Six or seven trips a year would mean that we might spend it all in, 5000 years. Umbrella drinks are extra.

Then again, we could just give it all to the government, you know, help reduce the national debt. You would think that $400 million would make a big dent in what we owe and they, the government, would be eternally grateful.

Not quite. With a $10 Billion (dollars) a day spending habit our “Greatest Jackpot in History” would last those in Washington just about three hours. I doubt they would even notice.

I think we should just give it all away. All of it. I can’t speak for my wife of course. Maybe we should split it 50-50 and I’ll give my half away. She can do what she wants with the rest.

That’s it. I’ll give all of mine away. Set up a web site or an 800 number for anyone to call who wants a piece of the pie.

As of the last drawing, my share of the winnings before taxes came to… $2. Now maybe I can get some sleep.

‘Today’s Take’, Green Bay Press Gazette.





Did you ever have the urge to touch the handle of a shopping cart that someone just spent five minutes sanitizing?




I was starving, nursing a hangover and trying to get into Angelo’s before the  lunch crowd when I, and a  hundred or so others were ordered away from the barricades being erected across the sidewalk.

I heard a cop say something about a jumper.

Someone mumbled, “let him jump. I’m late already.”

I looked up, along with one or two others craning their necks to see a lone figure on the roof of my office building, six floors up. Even from the street there was no mistaking the tall lanky figure of an old Army buddy, Fred Warner.

The rest kept walking.

After Iraq we tried to keep in touch. You know, Christmas cards and every now and then, a phone call.

Come to think of it, I hadn’t heard from him for several years.

I knew that building like the back of my hand. Worked there for ten years. Same stuff, different day. Working my fingers to the bone just to stay in the middle.

After the top floor there is a short half-flight of stairs to a penthouse store room and then the roof. It’s always locked.

I stumbled out into the noon day sun and looked around but couldn’t find him. “Hey, you up here?” “Yeah I’m here,” came the muffled answer from across the roof. “It’s about time you showed. I was just  going to do it -but thought I’d like to see you first.”

On the other side of the parapet I found my friend sitting on the narrow ledge, like he was fishing off the pier back home. “What’s up man?” “I’m trying to get something to eat and you’re up here acting stupid.”

“What’s it look like? I’m done, I’m tired man. Need to move on.”

“You’re the one who’s got it made. Wife, home, good job. You been here for how many, ten years? Me, I got nothing. After the war, Kate left me. Even the VA left me hanging. Said I was no longer a candidate for PTSD protocol. What bullshit.”

“I was good, though wasn’t I? Could pick off a towel head from a klick away and light up a smoke before he hit the dirt. Seventy-five confirmed. Quit counting after the second tour. I can still see their faces in the scope.”

” It hurts, man.”

“Two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star. Not much good to me now.”

“But you, you always came out on top. Stayed out of the sandbox, got an education. Living the dream, just like we always thought we would. Why couldn’t I have just been more like you?”

What he said was true- except  for the whole dream part. That died years ago, along with the promotion and my marriage.

The education I got though. Learned that loyalty and being good no longer counted. It’s just a matter of who you know and who you owe.

All I have left now is the booze and an old friend on a ledge.

“Move over.”