Monday, December 14, 2009

Blue Christmas

I’ve been fortunate over the years to be able to spend Christmas with family at my parent’s home in the U.P. just about every year, save one. That was my first year living in Wisconsin in 1987. I spent nearly every cent I had to move to the Badger State and being low man on the totem pole had to work that Christmas.

My Mom was kind enough to ship all my gifts via UPS to my new home, a single story duplex just off Lake Minocqua, but they didn’t arrive. At least I didn’t think they had. We were assured they had and were told to check with my neighbor because if I wasn’t home they were probably dropped off there. My neighbor told me she couldn’t figure out why her small car had suddenly been stocked with Christmas gifts.

I resolved that I wouldn’t open them until Christmas and decided to have the best holiday I possibly could. I did have some friends from back home that now lived and worked in Minocqua, in fact one worked at the same radio station. They had their own Christmas going on though.

I’ve never minded working on Christmas Day because it’s the one day of the year when people who call the radio station generally are filled with good will and if they weren’t I had enough to go around. It was of course a White Christmas because I was living in the state’s great Northwoods.

My biggest gift and possibly the best I’ve ever received on any Christmas came while I was milling around my small one-bedroom. There was a knock on the door and my Mom, brothers and sisters had given up their Christmas to come and see me. It was a four and a half hour trip for them and it meant quite a lot.

I had $10 on me and went down to a convenience store to buy gifts for them. They weren’t the best gifts, but they were all I could give and provided me with a story I’ll always be able to trot out at Christmas time. That Christmas taught me it wasn’t about getting, but giving. I hope you have a Merry Christmas. I’ll be with family.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Uncle Jimmy

There are some people who don’t need a loud booming voice or a boisterous personality to make a mark on life. Such a person was my Uncle Jimmy (Redeker). He died over the weekend. He was having heart problems. He was the youngest of five siblings in my Mom’s family and had hearing problems throughout his life.

His wife, my Aunt Janice, is a force of nature. He also had three girls; Jamie, Judy, and Jeanne. Needless to say he was outnumbered by the female sex in his own family. How he would have felt about having a son instead of three daughters I’ll never know. As far as I do know he was proud of his three girls.

Uncle Jimmy was soft spoken and I never saw him get flustered during any of our family gatherings over the years. When I was a kid we used to visit with their family over Christmas, but that practice ended somewhere over the years because nobody’s kids wanted to spend hours listening to others boasting about what Santa brought them for Christmas. Through it all my Uncle Jimmy remained diplomatic.

I guess some might say he was mousey or henpecked. I prefer to think of him like Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” He would bear what he needed to for the sake of family. There are some who don’t like my Aunt Janice and to visit my Uncle Jimmy meant having to deal with Aunt Janice. It was a small price to pay to see Uncle Jim.

Life is full of regrets and one of mine will be that I didn’t go to see my Uncle Jimmy the last time I was on vacation. My Mom told me he wasn’t doing well and we should go to visit him. I put it off thinking I could see him during Christmas vacation. How I wish now I had one of those days back. I don’t know what we would have talked about. It could have been any thing because it’s not what you say when you’re with family that’s important, it’s that you have that time together.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Questons for the Senator

It was supposed to be a forum on the value of education, but U.S. Senator Herb Kohl recently handled some tough questions off the subject. The Wisconsin Senator did extol the value of an education, particularly telling how his own helped him in his career as an entrepreneur and politician. However as with any forum where a politician allows the gathering to fire questions, the core topic was deviated from.

Q: Do you favor a longer school day or school year?

Kohl: Our students are already getting a good education, one of the best in the world.

Q: What happened at Ft. Hood, Texas?

Kohl: No one is sure why what happened did. The shooter just snapped and killed several people and injured many others. I attended the Memorial Ceremony. It was a very nice ceremony.

Q: Are you against the War?

Kohl: Wars are a bad thing. I’m not a fan of wars, but this isn’t a perfect world is it?

Q: Would you run for President?

Kohl: I have no plans to do that. I like what I’m doing for the state of Wisconsin now.

Q: If you were President what would be the first law that you would make?

Kohl: I’d outlaw wars.

At that the three 5th grade classes Kohl was visiting at Waters Elementary School in Fond du Lac erupted into applause and cheers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Must Win Situation

You have to admit that no matter what you do in life at one time or another you’re going to be caught using a sports cliché. For me the most bothersome is “a must win situation.” With so much at stake in big-time college sports and professional sports isn’t every game “a must win situation” for coaches? If you aren’t sure ask the Green Bay Packers coaches and management after last week’s embarrassment in Tampa Bay.

Politicians frequently borrow sports clichés to feed the media sound bites on issues. You can probably supply your own, but I’m not sure if “a must win situation” would be appropriate for certain topics. Then again how would you describe the need for health care reform? Turning around the economy? Finding enough vaccine for H1N1? Creating new jobs?

Losing is not a pleasant experience. However even winning can sometimes have costs that aren’t entirely palatable. Fond du Lac kept Mercury Marine, but union workers had to give in on benefits and pay. In addition the city, county and state had to offer up incentive packages totaling more than $120 million. Some would say it’s still a “Win-Win” outcome and I tend to agree. “Win-Win” is another cliché I’d like to banish to Siberia (yet another cliché).

If every situation in life were “must win” where did the term “acceptable losses” come from? That one probably didn’t come from a sports coach. To me “acceptable losses” is another that shouldn’t be applied to real-life situations. I certainly wouldn’t use them in the case of jobs, pay cuts or 401K losses. Maybe if it were used in talking about weight loss.

So to get it out of my system, tomorrow morning I’ll make sure I turn off my alarm clock on time. It’s a “must win situation.” Get to work on time. It’s a “must win situation.” Do a better job at work. It’s a “must win situation.” And have a nice day because it’s a “must win situation.” As for putting up with the over-used term, “It is what it is!”

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scary Station

Who says radio stations can’t throw a scare into you? Certainly not the people who work at them who can from time to time share a spooky tale. A station I worked at in Munising, Michigan also had some apartments on its four floors. It was an old house and complained with its constant creaking at night. It wasn’t until I learned a little history about the home that my imagination began to take hold of me.

At one time the building housed a funeral home. The cellar is where they prepared the bodies. Out of convenience it had steps going down to the cellar from the outside. Of course it had those big doors that opened up and out so you could wheel the dearly departed easily down into the basement. Never saw a ghost there, but I did see a murderer one time.

Maybe I should qualify that a bit. We used to also run a copying service out of the station and a frequent visitor was a guy we nicknamed “Rambo” because he always dressed in army fatigues with a camouflage headband. He had a way of unnerving people around him. One night he was at a local watering hole and leaned over and bragged to the guy on the next stool that he’d just killed his mother. Turned out he had.

When I worked in Minocqua I heard a story about a guy who was working by himself late one night at the radio station and heard a knock on the front door. As the story goes when he opened it no one was there, but there was a large tombstone leaning against the door. Never did find out if that was just a story to scare the new guy or if it actually happened there.

Unfortunately the station did have a tragic story connected to it while I worked there. A talk show host with the station died in a fire at his home one weekend. Never did find out the truth about that, but the story goes he was fond of cocaine and his fiery death may have been a result of that.

Here’s my favorite radio station ghost story. It comes from Pat Sullivan, a guy I worked with at WBEV in Beaver Dam. Pat’s been around the radio biz a while and was working at another station along his travels. He was warned that the station was haunted. He was asked to work the morning shift at that station one day and got there before anyone else.

Pat was getting ready for his air shift, gathering wire copy and other preparation work. He was totally engulfed with what he was doing. Before he went on the air he grabbed a cup of coffee and headed to the studio. Later when he saw a co-worker he said something like “Boy I was busy and thanks for making the coffee!” The co-worker says,"Pat you were the only one here. Did anyone mention that the ghost is friendly and sometimes helpful?”

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wrong Robert

Let me introduce you to Wrong Robert. Occasionally he makes an appearance in my household. He's ill-mannered and short-tempered. He doesn't have consideration for the other person and punctuates his verbal utterances in a loud voice. He's the Mr. Hyde to my Dr. Jekyl. Fortunately he doesn't appear that often.

He emerged from hiding the other day when I returned home from work to two voicemails, both from the same collection agency. I ignored the first two calls last week. I'll explain later. This time I called the toll-free number back to see what was shaking. Imagine my surprise when they said they were looking for Robert Nelson. Then they said it was for a medical bill. Well I was curious since they said it was for a bill from March of 2008. Well I did have hip surgery last year and was in the hospital and a rehab facility about that time, but I told them I had paid all my bills. Could I have overlooked one?

That's when they asked if **** were the last four numbers in my social security numbers. I said what since the person on the other end of the line clearly lacked the ability to pronunciate. She said are your numbers ****? I said no and if they called again they'd be talking to a lawyer. She said since my numbers weren't **** they wouldn't be calling again. Thank God my numbers aren't ****.

You have to understand that Wrong Robert was created when one of AT & T's former baby bells assigned me the same phone number that another couple in Fond du Lac used to have. She, God Bless Her Soul, did sewing piece work and must have been pretty good at it. He however left a string of unpaid bills in his wake. I got calls for more than two years for the couple.

One of those calls was from a collection agency working for Wells Fargo. They called and asked for Robert, my luck the guy had the same first number. When they said I owed them over $800, I said that wasn't possible I have never had an account with Wells Fargo. They said are you Robert ****? I said no, Wrong Robert. After that whenever someone called and asked for Robert, I'd say which Robert are you looking for?

Incidentally someone called the other day wondering if my wife still did piece work. Wrong Robert.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bottoms Up

Is it just me or are more of those people we elect to office making the news for drunken or drugged behavior? Wisconsin Assemblyman Jeff Wood was recently arrested for his 4th OWI. State troopers pulled him over in the Town of Rib Mountain. This time prescription and non-prescription drugs led to his erratic driving. Two of his arrests have occurred within the last year. Earlier this year I asked a fellow Assemblyman about Wood and all that lawmaker could say is, “That young man needs our prayers.”

Sheboygan Mayor Bob Ryan on the other hand didn’t break any laws when he was caught on video making sexual remarks about his sister-in-law. It became a YouTube sensation. He was definitely drunk in the barroom exchange with drinking buddies.

One law enforcement officer I spoke with says he feels sorry for Ryan because he was obviously filmed in the tavern on someone’s cell phone with no clue what was going on. That officer said while Ryan may have crossed the line with his remarks, he said them in what he thought was a private conversation. Ryan is also under fire for allegedly firing a human resources director who claims she was let go for refusing his sexual advances.

It’s not making national news, but an incident in the Upper Peninsula definitely caught headlines in my hometown of Manistique. An Alger and Schoolcraft County Probate Judge was arrested for drunken driving in July. Manistique is the County seat for Schoolcraft County. Judge Charles Nebel was over the limit and tried to get away from state troopers at speeds of over 100 miles per hour. He apologized later saying he used bad judgment. Ironic isn’t it.

Recently Nebel was sentenced to a year’s probation, weekend “impact programs” and had to pay over $1,200 in fines and court costs. He could also face judicial review. He was appointed to the bench this past February. If he runs for re-election it will be in November of 2010. It will be interesting to see what punishment awaits Wisconsin Assemblyman Jeff Wood. He gets an oral ruling on his 3rd OWI in Columbia County Court in December.

Recently a story was shared with me about a longtime Wisconsin lawmaker who took credit for another colleague’s work on a bill by reintroducing it with a few minor changes as his own. He was to have his moment in the spotlight, but instead another lawmaker called him on it asking him why he was taking credit for something they’d already seen before. It wasn’t an effort to show him up, just to get his goat. Several of his colleagues knew he got hammered the night before and wanted to see him suffer through his hangover.

Keep in mind Wisconsin legislators are working on a package to stiffen penalties for drunken driving. Maybe we should take the car keys away from them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Share the Story, Share the Blame!

Information sharing in this day and age can be a tricky thing. I found that out recently when I received an e-mail from someone who was disappointed that we carried some names in a story about a murder-suicide apparently before the names were officially released. The last thing I want to do is be the bearer of bad tidings to a family before they are notified through official channels. How I made that mistake takes a little explaining.

We share stories with about six other radio stations in the state, the Associated Press, and the Wisconsin Radio Network. Consequently we use stories that others share with us. Such was the case involving a couple from Horicon. You know what they say about assuming. Well I didn’t see a problem with the information I got from another station we share stories with. Now that I think back on it I probably know where they got their information.

The Dodge and Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Departments are kind enough to send us copies of their daily logs each day. Each log contains information from calls for service. Some times it’s brief, but can contain names and addresses that aren’t generally shared with the public. There’s an implied understanding that sensitive information shouldn’t be passed along without first checking with the law enforcement agency. That’s usually in cases involving crimes or accidents in which a person or people are killed or injured. Or for that matter someone commits a crime, but hasn’t been charged yet. Discretion comes into play.

I’ve seen radio and television stations, and newspapers use information from those logs as sources for a story. Anyone that’s ever heard a drama unfold on a police radio knows that you should wait until the smoke clears before you start using details that are uttered or written in the heat of the moment. The logs I’m sent I typically use as leads or to confirm details I’ve already gotten about a story. When a propane tanker recently overturned on a Fond du Lac County highway I heard the original call on a scanner, called a Sheriff’s Captain to confirm, and later when writing the story I checked back on the Sheriff’s log from the morning to get the time of call.

Over the years I’ve learned enough to know that whatever story you do it’s bound to have an impact on someone listening to it or reading it. If it concerns a death, I’m more than willing to wait until the family has been notified by law enforcement. However some of my colleagues aren’t. So if they are a bit premature in their reporting and they share the story with me, then we’re both to blame. Anyone who browses the Internet can you tell you there’s a lot of information available. The danger is it may not be correct or worse ethical.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Number One On The Water

I've never covered a story that so physically and emotionally drained me as what has gone on with Mercury Marine in the last few weeks. From dawn to dusk and beyond I had to be on call for any breaking development as the company considered whether it would continue to make outboard motors in Fond du Lac.

Anyone who has followed the news knows that too many manufacturing jobs have left Wisconsin. It looked like Mercury and its 70 year history in the state would be another casualty. However as we've seen in Fond du Lac over the last few years the community is resilient and there's just some special element that allows us to bounce back from adversity.

Three union workers Fred Toth, Felipe Rodriguez, and Rick Schmidt got a lot of credit for their petition drive and effort to get a revote after union workers rejected Mercury's proposed contract changes. I won't dispute that important contribution, but also know that city, state, and county officials, union leaders, and Mercury executives continued to talk. If they hadn't there wouldn't have been a third vote and eventual passage of the contract that will save manufacturing jobs and bring others to the city.

The toughest day was early that Sunday morning after a second vote attempt ended short. Union members stood in the parking lot at Machinists Lodge 1947 tired, frustrated, angry. The community awoke that Sunday morning to news that hopes had been dashed. I went home at 3:30 that morning after reporting from the union hall most of the night. All seemed lost for retaining Mercury's manufacturing jobs.

That following Tuesday Mercury and union officials met and decided there would be a third vote. It seemed there was still a glimmer of hope. Constant visits to the union hall this past Thursday and Friday I got different reactions from those who voted. At first I was guardedly optimistic, but was still surprised Friday night when union leaders announced that the contract had been ratified. Mercury would stay in Fond du Lac.

Unlike a football game the losers wouldn't simply lick their wounds and practice for the next game. Stillwater, Oklahoma residents felt more than slighted. After all three votes on a union contract. Sorry, but this is where I admit to being biased. I was not pro-Union, not-pro Mercury, but pro-Fond du Lac during this entire drama.

I went home this past Friday night shortly before midnight still sorting out my emotions. It had been an 18 hour work day. I felt for the union workers that had to make their own sacrifices to save their jobs and preserve other jobs for years to come. I also feel that Mercury officials did not want to make a decision to leave Fond du Lac, a community that has supplied a hard working and loyal workforce to it for the better part of 70 years. I also rejoiced for community leaders who knew what kind of impact Mercury leaving would have had on thousands of residents.

Of course there's still the matter of city and county officials finalizing incentive packages for Mercury, but the biggest sacrifice has already been made by Mercury's union employees. If city council and county board members can't realize that then they really should consider whether they are truly watching out for the best interests of those they represent.

I may never be able to watch a pickup truck pulling a boat and trailer with a Mercury motor go by on a highway again and not feel a twinge of pride in what this community has accomplished. As County Executive Al Buechel put it, we did not want to become the “Detroit” of Wisconsin. Amen!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vacation Observations

A couple times a year I get the opportunity to vacation with family in the Upper Peninsula. It’s an escape from the usual routine to a place that differs a bit from Wisconsin and Michigan’s Lower Peninsula if you will.

On the drive there and back here are a few things I encountered. I had to stop dead on Highway 41 northbound three times as I ran into traffic waiting to take the exit to EAA AirVenture. It wasn’t too bad except for the people who were in the wrong lane to hit the exit.

In Marinette I saw a place called Jerry’s Bar. I don’t know who owns it, but it struck me as funny because I have a former brother-in-law named Jerry who loves to have a few. In Rapid River there’s a restaurant called “Mikey B’s.” Not sure how the food is, but there are no golden arches.

In my hometown of Manistique a couple of businesses side-by-side have moose as mascots. They are not real of course. One is a moose in a white shirt and checkered bib overalls in front of the Big Boy Restaurant. One friend refers to it as Bullwinkle’s Big Boy. The other moose is decked out in a tuxedo in front of the hotel next to it. The only live wildlife I saw was a gray fox that crossed the road in front of me. Usually I see some deer too.

Shopping is different. Some of the products we see on grocery store shelves you can’t get in Fond du Lac and vice versa. I saw chocolate flavored Chex Cereal. I guess if you make the treat puppy chow that would come in handy. I also saw a Mexican-flavored pasty. They had regular pasties too.

I’m hooked on the news so I kept track of what was going on either through television or the internet. The story about the Fond du Lac man whose private part was glued to his stomach by spurned lovers was on the Today Show. One story making news in the U.P. was about a Schoolcraft County Judge caught drunk driving by State Police after a chase that exceeded 100 miles an hour. Judge Charles Nebel spent a night in jail and issued an apology saying he made some inappropriate decisions. Well, duh!

I tried to have a conversation with my 14-year-old nephew Max while I was visiting my brother John one night. I had to compete with X-box. He was playing a game online with some chap from England. As my 11-year-old nephew Derek put it, “Boy that guy Max is playing with sure is snotty!”

The sad thing about vacation isn’t that it has to come to an end, but how easy it is to step back into the routine. Well to put it in perspective I just remember something I saw just before I went on vacation. Across the street from the Fond du Lac Police Department’s parking lot a small bird was comfortably perched atop of a sign. The sign read, “Two hour parking only!”

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cancer Comes To Dinner

Prayer is uniting family and friends of my cousin Doug whose life is being threatened by cancer. He got the news that liver and pancreatic cancer could end his life in 6 to 8 months. He’s seeking a second opinion as he begins chemotherapy to add months not years to his prognosis. We’re hoping a second opinion means a second chance.

I enjoyed dinner with Doug twice during a recent vacation in Michigan’s U.P. He talked openly about how ill he’s felt since March when he was tested and was still waiting for definitive word when we enjoyed venison stroganoff at my sister Kathy’s one night and a day later turkey at my mom’s.

As is usual with Doug he leavened the conversation with humor. Last year he found out he had diabetes. He joked at the dinner table that he had lost weight and was finally eating right and now that he is…well you get the picture. The cold beer he used to enjoy with the rest of us has been replaced by diet soda.

Doug and the rest of his family were originally from Illinois and vacationed in the U.P during the summer. As pre-teens up through our early adult years a bond grew tight between our families. I can’t say I’m that close to him, but my brother John the other day said for him Doug is like a third brother. That bond grew tighter after Doug and his longtime girlfriend, “Al”, as we call her moved to Manistique.

I’m not sure what challenges lie ahead for them, but I’m hoping somehow that life takes a kinder gentler road and the journey will take much, much longer. My sister Diana says she’s going to remain optimistic, I will too.

It’s unfortunate that cancer has reached the point that it can be casually discussed at the dinner table. It’s been the subject of too many family discussions far and near. It’s an uninvited guest. It demands too much from us and the people that we care about.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mercury Rising

I’ll admit that the chance of Mercury Marine leaving Fond du Lac scares me as much as it does others. I’m hoping it’s a worst case scenario. The fact that the company employs over 1,850 workers and at one time more than 3,200 is staggering. Its impact on other businesses and the economy of not only the area, but state also can’t be diminished.

I grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and saw some major employers there go by the wayside due to the economy of the times. In college during the summer I worked at a limestone mine, which at the time employed more than 300 people. Given the U.P’s size it was a major employer in the area. After graduating from college I landed a job at a radio station in my hometown. I heard that the mine and its union had a contract bargaining session coming up and it may be difficult.

I asked a prominent banker in the community how it would be impacted if for some reason the mine were to shut down. He laughed at the thought and not too politely. That was staggering for a young reporter still learning the ropes. Needless to say the contract negotiations dragged on. Meantime I took a job at another radio station up the road. Within two years time the company shut down because it couldn’t reach terms with its workers.

The good news is the mine was sold to another owner, but when it reopened it only employed 60 workers and none of them were with a union. I’m not saying unions are a bad thing, but workers at the mine mistakenly thought the mine wouldn’t close and their jobs were safe. That mine is once again facing ownership and closing questions.

The local paper mill also employs about 300 workers. It’s been open for more than 100 years. However they saw the writing on the wall years ago and started making recycled papers. The mill actually prospered after the switch. I have to wonder how the paper industry is going these days with more reports generated on the Internet and newspapers closing from declining readership.

At one time I envied my brothers and sisters because my love of radio always meant making less money than they did. However my two brothers John and Matt work for that mine I mentioned and have been furloughed twice already during the mine’s busy season. My sister Kathy works as a corrections officer in the state of Michigan. Last year the state cut its corrections employees from 40 to 32 hours a week. They also got some furloughs. Now the prison she worked at has closed and she was transferred. Her drive to work went from 30 minutes to 70. Things are tough all over.

I’ll do my best to remain optimistic about Mercury’s chances, but I also fret over any business closing. It is always personal and it always does effect more than the people who lose their jobs. As someone recently said to me, “It doesn’t do any good to get retrained for work if there aren’t any jobs out there.”

Monday, July 20, 2009

Uncle Walter

To be honest with you Walter Cronkite had more of an impact on my parent’s viewing habits then influencing my life as a newsperson. He left the anchor chair on CBS-TV in March of 1981, nearly a lifetime ago for some. But it’s the impact he had on TV journalism that was the focus of tributes this past weekend.

Think about the things he reported on during a six-year span from 1963 to the end of that decade. First there was President Kennedy’s assassination, the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., the Tet Offensive in Vietnam (which signaled a turning point in the War), the rioting at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon. These were formative years for television news.

By 1972, more than 70 percent of Americans polled voted him the most trusted man in the country. If Walter Cronkite came out in your favor, it was an endorsement. When President Johnson heard Cronkite say the Vietnam War wasn’t winnable, he was heard to say that they’d just lost Middle America.

Today’s TV news is too often more about celebrity than substance. It’s almost expected that a reporter will make a personal observation in reporting on a national story. In Cronkite’s heyday that was the exception to the rule. The news was the story, not the reporter. You can in part blame that on the advent of 24/7 news channels and the promotion of news personalities. Even in my role, with the exception of this blog, I report the news and rarely give an opinion about a story.

When CNN debuted in 1980 it marked the emergence of immediate news. It was the beginning of the end of the network nightly news. Although you still have three primary nightly network news casts, their audience has eroded and the role of anchor isn’t what it used to be. However credit Walter Cronkite and his colleagues that when the nation has a tragedy or a crisis we still turn to the network news channels out of sheer trust. Weren’t you glued to coverage during 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina?

For me Walter Cronkite is like an uncle. I never knew my Grandpa Nelson. He passed away before I was born. Pictures I’ve seen of him however look like old time pictures of Walter Cronkite. I’m told that like the famous newsman he always had an interesting spin on things. And that’s just the way it is.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Normally I don’t speak ill of the dead, so in summing up Michael Jackson’s Memorial Service I’ll try to focus on the living. I tried not to get hooked into watching the event, but while waiting in a dentist’s office for a 6-month hygiene appointment ended up watching some of it with other patients.

Some reporters who spoke ill of him while he was alive were busy praising him in his death. I was waiting for the ceremony to begin, but the traffic backed up in L.A. due to the Jackson procession took longer than most imagined it would. In a bankrupt state extra costs for law enforcement for a service that rivaled a state funeral for a president or king. Okay so he was the King of Pop.

The actual teeth-cleaning saved me the agony of sitting through most of the service. Later at home I caught some of the speakers including Brooke Shields who a reporter later noted hadn’t seen Michael Jackson in years. I made it through until Jermaine Jackson started singing “Smile” a song actor Charlie Chaplin wrote. Shields pointed out that it was Michael’s favorite song. A song written by another tortured genius who in his time faced his own sexual allegations.

While he was living I got the impression Michael Jackson craved the attention. It seems only fitting that in death he got more than he ever enjoyed at any single moment of his moon-walking days on Earth. In the wake of that service the real circus will begin. Still I’m interested to know what kind of TV ratings the service produced. It has to rival just about anything ever seen.

The gal who worked on my teeth asked me how long I though it would be before the attention surrounding Michael Jackson’s death would subside. I wasn’t sure how to answer that, but speculated that we just couldn’t get enough about Princess Diana. I also wondered how Elvis Presley would have fared if the kind of media and technology we have today would have been around when he died in 1977. My dental technician said Jackson’s service still would have been bigger. She’s right Elvis Presley didn’t have MTV.

I still maintain that someday there will be a cable television channel out there that will only carry items about celebrity deaths. Their biographies, films and music videos, their best TV work, gossip on how their estate will be settled, even the funeral services themselves. What would you call a channel like that? An obvious choice would be “Thriller!”

Monday, June 29, 2009

Celebrities' Three

There’s an old belief that celebrity deaths come in threes. So the other day when I heard Farrah Fawcett had died, following Ed McMahon’s death earlier in the week, I asked someone at the radio station who they thought might be next? The answer came later in the day, Michael Jackson.

Each of them brought entertainment to us and had a special place in the hearts of millions. I always thought that Ed McMahon was more than a second banana to Johnny Carson. He impressed me as being more intelligent than most of the late night talk show co-hosts.

It’s hard to believe now that Farrah Fawcett was only on “Charlie’s Angels” for one season. But it was enough to launch her as a celebrity icon. I never had her famous poster, but certainly had enough friends that did. I actually liked more of her serious roles like “Burning Bed.” With her battle with cancer and struggle to keep some of her life private, she seemed a tragic figure like Marilyn Monroe.

I have to confess that I was one of the few who didn’t buy Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album back in the day. I did enjoy the music, but apparently didn’t feel the need to own the record like so many others. Actually my favorite “Thriller” moment wasn’t from the video of the same name, but the dance the cast staged to the song in the movie “13 Going on 30.” Given the context it was used in that Jennifer Garner film it was fun.

Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson all had their better celebrity days behind them, although Michael Jackson had a comeback tour scheduled. We will never know if it would have succeeded.

I can imagine when Ed, Farrah, and Michael got to the pearly gates this past week. Johnny Carson introduced Ed McMahon this time. Farrah simply flashed her famous smile, and Michael moon-walked in. There are now three new additions to heaven’s own walk-of-fame.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Social Networking

As one of the ways we communicate at KFIZ radio we are getting involved in more social networking efforts. By that I mean Twitter and Facebook. KFIZ has a Facebook account and I signed up for Twitter because I thought its immediacy would work out well for some news efforts.

One thing I’ve found out is there are so many different social networking sites and services. The one’s I signed up for are free, but that’s not the only reason I have accounts with them. I’ve been invited to join Plaxo and a few others, but haven’t because I don’t want to spend all my free time posting entries just to post entries.

I’m still getting the hang of Facebook and have spent a little more time posting entries on Twitter. Facebook allows you to share with friends. Sounds like a worthwhile effort, but you have to make sure the friend you’re sharing with is the friend you think it is. For instance I got a name familiar to me and checked it out. Information on my friend said he graduated from the UWO in a certain year. Looked right until I checked it out with the friend of the same name and found out he graduated from Ripon College.

I also recently typed in Jane Doe on my Facebook account to see if I could find an entry for the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Jane Doe case, something they were going to try and do. Found out there are literally hundreds of Jane Does listed on Facebook and some of them are adult only if you know what I mean. After talking with the Sheriff’s Department I found out they had trouble trying to enter their Jane Doe on Facebook, maybe for the same reasons.

Twitter is kind of different. Like Facebook it allows you to update friends on what you are doing, but you are limited to 140 characters. For me it works out because I can put in short news bursts. For example there was a two-car accident on Fond du Lac County Highway WH at 7 Hills Road this morning that detoured traffic.

The thing about Twitter is I first thought it was a kind of instant messaging, but its more like posting your own thoughts and letting everyone in your circle know about it. This is one way of thinking out loud where you have to think about what you’re saying before you say it. Maybe that’s a good thing.

The funny thing about Facebook and Twitter is I haven’t added any family members yet. I’ve been trying to keep work and family separate and to be honest most of my family lives too far away to want to known instantly about what I’m covering through work. On the other hand those following me on Facebook and Twitter probably don’t care that my Mom got a brand new dog today, a 3-month old Yorkie named “Louie.” But now you do.
P.S. my Twitter name is BobNKFIZ

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Meet Jane Doe

Sometimes the ideals and convenience of small town living can clash with big city values. Such is the case in the Fond du Lac County Sheriff Department’s effort to learn the identity of a young woman whose body was discovered by deer hunters last November.

The body was badly decomposed and with the help of several experts and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children a digital facial reconstruction was put together. You can see the photo at left. At a press conference this week Sheriff Mick Fink stressed to the media the need to get the photo out as far as possible in the hopes that someone might recognize the woman.

He says the case is cold and gets colder every day. However if they are able to identify her they can take the next step in investigating how and why she died. It’s estimated her body was left in a creek in the woods for 30 to 90 days before hunters found it last November 23rd.

After the press conference the Sheriff told me they are worried that the woman comes from a larger city where it’s not unusual for someone to go missing. Here in Fond du Lac County the discovery of a Jane Doe is unusual and treated as such. After all we care about things like that.

I have to wonder if the age of Jane Doe also works against efforts to identify her. It’s estimated she was 15 to 21 years of age. People are so much more compassionate when it’s a young child you are talking about. If she was a teen or older there may be a tendency to write her off as a runaway. Given the circumstances of her death, that does not seem to be the case for Jane Doe.

Hoping to use any tool available to them to discover Jane Doe’s identity, the Sheriff’s Department also will have a Jane Doe page on Facebook or MySpace. You can get more information about her at the Sheriff's website.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Gorilla Goes Global

When you’re reporting news you never know what kind of an impact a story is going to have. Four or five days a week I make it down to the Fond du Lac Police Department to go through reports and find out what’s going on. One such day I found a few nuggets and as an aside Captain Steve Klein said, “By the way we had someone who dressed up in a gorilla suit and tried to steal a banana from a display at a couple of Kwik-Trips in town.”

Okay I had to ask, “Are you kidding?” Nope! Well I broke out my digital recorder and asked him more. When I was done I said, “You know Steve this is the kind of story that will make it all over.” I wrote up a couple versions and sent out copies to a half dozen radio stations, the Wisconsin Radio Network and the Associated Press.

The next day the Fond du Lac Reporter picked it up and their story garnered more interest. Following up on our original story I found out a person donning a gorilla suit wasn’t successful the first day, but returned to get about a 3-foot Styrofoam banana from a Kwik Trip a second day. I originally planned to use the story as a “kicker.” That’s a story with some feature appeal that you use towards the end of a newscast.

Today I asked Captain Klein how much interest he got after we initially ran the story. He says there were a number of media outlets from around the state and country that called. He also heard from the BBC in London, which wanted an interview for a global broadcast and truTV formerly Court TV. It ended up on YouTube and a number of Internet blog sites.

By the way the pseudo-primate is still at large. I’m actually waiting for the furry felon to get caught because although it’s a joke right now, I want to know the punch line. Was it a college prank? A cry for attention? A dare or something done after too many beers and too little thought? By the way the banana was only worth about $50 so if the fast and furry person is caught they more than likely are facing a misdemeanor charge.

P.S. I’ve joined the Twitter craze. You can find me at

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cookie Jar

Last weekend spring cleaning kicked in and I finally disposed of some things I’ve been holding onto, Lord knows why, for too long. I also had a chance to reassess the importance of some items.

I blame my sister Diana for even thinking about using eBay to get rid of some of the items, but did do some Internet searches out of curiosity to see what some items might be worth. On a recent visit to my Mom’s place I found my sister bidding for a cookie jar. This particular one is ceramic, white, with cookie decorations of various sorts all over it. It was topped with a cookie-like handle.

One similar to it was filled with cookies for a couple years during my childhood. It was done in by my brother John in a klutzy moment. Mom glued it back together, but it didn’t last long after that. Anyway Diana or Derbs as we call her was looking to find one like it on eBay. She found some close to it, but wasn’t able to nail down a winning bid.

Anyway it got me to thinking last weekend about some of my treasured items. Even grown men maintain a treasure (or junk) box they can’t part with. Although it’s much easier to explain why you’re holding onto it when you’re a boy. Some of the items I looked for included an autographed Ray Nitschke football card from 1971. He signed it for me at a personal appearance he made in my hometown. Nice guy, but to a 13-year-old boy huge. On eBay similar cards were going for anywhere from a couple bucks up to $50 or $60. I think I’ll hold onto it a little longer.

Another item I held on to over the years is a pseudo-Rambo knife. I was surprised how many knock offs there are of this particular item. When I bought it I thought it would come in handy when I’m hunting, but to be truthful I could never put a sharp edge on it. I’ve thought about giving it to my nephew Max because he hunts, but that would require finding a gift for my nephew Derek because you can’t just give one of them a present.

Something I keep in a separate box is German beer steins. I’m not really sure what to do with them. My Dad loved them, but after he died my Mom wanted to get rid of them. She didn’t have the heart to toss them out. Yeah you can find a bunch on the Internet. I do use one to hold coins of sentimental value in.

These are a few of my little treasures or junk if you will. I’m still hoping my sister gets that cookie jar. Cookies housed in that jar always seemed to taste better. Maybe it was just the love of childhood that made them taste so good.

P.S. I couldn’t find a picture of the actual jar, but this is similar.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pearls Before Swine

I got stuck in a waiting room at an area car dealer while my car was being serviced the other day. It took about three hours, but at least I heard some interesting opinions while I waited for the cost and cause. That was the day when the media geared up its coverage of the Swine Flu outbreak.

Of course at that time the astonishing numbers were coming out of Mexico and the number of Americans who had the disease was around 20. No one had died yet. It’s interesting how you can sum up a person and their background by the things they say to others. I know one was a farmer from the way he described the tasks he’d been doing earlier in the day. Another man, I’m not sure what his profession was but he was acquainted with the farmer.

On the television we watched news reports on the outbreak and the advice that was being given to try and prevent the spread of the virus. In between those reports was the latest news on GM and how they might have to close 42 percent of their dealerships over the next year. An interesting fact given I was waiting for my car to be fixed and was only feet away from a new car showroom. I’m not sure how much confidence any one has in purchasing a car now, but was told that particular dealership had a record sales month last month.

Anyway back to the Swine Flu. Those in our little gathering wondered how many of those New York City residents with the flu were in Mexico for spring break. They also were curious why the outbreak was so much greater and deadlier in the country to our south. It was also kind of ironic that a U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary had just been named the health crisis was unfolding.

Television news coverage of the outbreak elicited some criticism. I didn’t tell them I was a member of the media. You have to sit and take your lumps some times. Anyway they thought it was being blown of proportion. One particular announcer had no idea what he was talking about and shouldn’t be allowed to talk if he didn’t have something valuable to say. Mums the word.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New School

When I was 16-years-old I decided to go out for the High School Football team. I was entering my junior year and except for a stint in a 4th of 5th grade program hadn’t played any kind of organized football. It was a great experience, but took some sacrifices. I mention this because my 13-year-old nephew Max is reaching the age when he soon will be going through the same experience.

This is where the differences begin. Max has been invited to participate in what is essentially a scouting combine. Imagine an 8th grader going through the same strength and agility testing that potential pros go through every year. However this one is for 9th through 12 graders who could eventually be going to a college program. It will be held at the Superior Dome complex in Marquette, Michigan where the Northern Michigan University Wildcats play college ball.

Max takes his strength and conditioning deadly serious. He’s played basketball and football through organized programs for years already. His Christmas present this year was a set of dead weights. He started out lifting 70 pounds. In a matter of months he’s already up to 175 pounds. I didn’t do any weight lifting until high school.

Max’s dad, my brother John, played a couple years of high school football and some basketball. He was good at. Max I think will be better. He’s a tight end and linebacker. He’s not quick enough to play wide receiver, but has a good set of hands. He also keeps up his grades so if he has any talent could at least get a shot at a college scholarship.

His brother Derek is a few years younger and is more like his mother Laurie. She can paint and puts together some jewelry as a hobby. Derek can draw and has some writing abilities. Unfortunately the NFL doesn’t have a scouting combine for artistic ability. Maybe they should.

Either way, both Derek and Max will be wearing Manistique Emerald green and white during their high school years, just as John and I did. At least that’s something old and new school have in common.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One Room School House

I’m beginning to wonder whether we will eventually return to the one room school house approach to education. Back in the day that was a matter of practicality as we realized how important education was to a young nation. Unfortunately declining enrollments, revenue caps, and the economy are putting schools out of business.

During the past two weeks the Oakfield School Board voted to close the Belle Reynolds Elementary School and The Waupun School Board decided to close three elementary schools. Both districts will consolidate their classes into their remaining schools to cut costs. It makes sense and shows how much further the rural school or neighbor school is disappearing from the landscape.

Obviously for students and parents it’s much more convenient to learn in a school closer to your own home. It also gives you a sense of identity. Although school district officials will tell you there’s no discrimination, students riding a bus from an outlying area have other stories to tell. I’ve seen discrimination between public and private school students in some of the cities I’ve worked in.

When I grew up it was normal to be sitting in a classroom that consisted of two grades. I attended first grade in an outlying school in my hometown and later was in a Catholic education system that often saw several grades coupled together in a single classroom. Of course more recently there’s been an emphasis on student-teacher ratio and trying to reduce that ratio, but when you have to close a school that ratio is bound to go up.

If you’ve lived for any amount of time at all, you probably know of a building in your community that at one time was a school, but no longer is. I can think of several in Fond du Lac that serve other purposes now even though I haven’t lived in the city that long. Some simply outlived their usefulness or were abandoned for bigger and better schools.

The school I went to as a 1st grader is now a community center. The Catholic school I went to from 6th through 8th grades has scaled back and was reduced from taking 1st through 8th graders to 1st through 5th graders. My High School senior class was the last to graduate from it. That summer the school was torn down and a new one went up in its stead. An old gymnasium we once trained in during high school is the only section of the old school that remains.

I have to wonder with computers and the Internet how much further our classroom structures will erode. As Waupun District Administrator Randy Refsland said the building isn’t as important as the education you receive in it. Try and tell that to the people who put the bricks and mortar together and the generations of families that attended those schools on their way up the rungs of that educational ladder. As you get older the school you went to may be easier to remember than some of the lessons you learned in it.

Monday, March 02, 2009

A Penny For Your Thoughts

Recently the U.S. Mint released information about new designs for the penny that is being used to celebrate what would have been Abe Lincoln’s 200th birthday. That got me to thinking about the penny and how much we still use it. A lot of people wouldn’t even stoop to pick one up if they saw one.

I’m not much of a coin collector really. I have a handful of coins that have some significance attached to them. One is a 1922 silver liberty dollar, which may or may not actually have some value to it. I have two JFK half dollars from the early 1970s I‘ve been holding on to because JFK meant so much to my dad. There’s also a Susan B. Anthony dollar from 1979. That’s about it. I used to have a $2 bill, but don’t know what happened to it.

Pennies I used to go through just to see if I could find one that goes way back. I tried that recently with the other change I throw into a container until it gets worth cashing in. The newest was a 2007 and the oldest was from 1964. If I see one of the new Lincolns I’ll put it aside with my other precious few coins worth saving.

Among all our coins the Lincoln penny has to be one of the best traveled. Imagine the hopes and dreams of the people whose hands those pennies passed through over the years. I’d like to think that the 1964 penny I came across slipped through the fingers of a Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg or even Barack Obama somewhere over the course of its travels.

Or imagine the history that could be connected to that one particular penny. It was minted a year after JFK was assassinated. Maybe it hitched a ride with one of the scientists working on Apollo 11. It sat inside the penny loafer of someone working at the Watergate Hotel in the early 70’s. Jangled in the loose change of the pant’s pocket of a Chrysler executive working on the bail out in the 1980s. Was part of the change given back for some food purchased at a Packer’s game in the 1990s. It helped pay for a magazine at a news stand in New York City on September 11th, 2001. Finally it came to rest in a child’s piggy bank until that child, now a high school grad, cashed it in to help pay for college.

A penny saved, is not a penny spurned.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


It seems that somewhere over time anonymous has gone from being a cleaver author to just plain mean and spiteful. We recently received an e-mail from anonymous about the cold case the Fond du Lac Police Department recently solved. It was critical of the police chief and took potshots at the young woman who was killed back in the 70s. Granted we took it with a grain of salt since the author couldn’t spell and may have had a few before sending the comment along.

The Internet is providing an avenue for anyone with an opinion to hide behind anonymity. If you want to express yourself you can hide behind a user name without actually giving away who you are. You can even infer that you know what you’re talking about if you can dream up a smart user name.

I’m all about people feeling comfortable enough to put pen to paper or in this case fingers to keyboard. However some just go over the line. The problem is that people who read comments posted on websites equate them with being legitimate. If they aren’t policed that tends to lend credibility to them.

Over the years I’ve handled complaints, especially when someone leaves me a phone message and a number I can get back to. The idea is to find out if you’ve made a mistake so you can learn from it and do better next time. Some times the person making the complaint just wants to talk to someone or find out why you handled a situation the way you did. Responding to them is just common courtesy.

Occasionally we get calls from someone that is angry, profane, sometimes drunk or high, and leaves a message without saying who they are and what ticked them off. Sure it upsets you, but it also leaves you wondering what type of person would do that.

In the radio biz some hide behind what we call air names. Those are names that people dream up that are easy to remember or catchy so you will remember them. The first radio station I worked at I used an air name. Not because I wanted to, but because my boss wanted it so. I haven’t had to since then. Thank goodness. Although people still ask me if I’m related to the Bob Nelson that was a weather man for a Green Bay TV station back in the day. By the way I’m not.

I think if you have something to say you should put your name on it. If however it’s going to put you at risk then I can see why you wouldn’t want to. I know some pretty impressive people have taken risks and associated their names with some thought provoking, inspiring and sometime incendiary words.

“Four score and seven years ago.” “All we have to fear is fear itself.” “Ask not what you can do for your Country.” “I have a dream.” “We hold these truths to be self evident.”

The last of course is from a nearly 233 year old document that a number of men signed knowing it would probably put their lives at risk. Imagine how less powerful the Declaration of Independence would have been if there was an anonymous among the signatures.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cruel To Animals

You don’t hear about everything that goes on at a radio station on the air. It’s supposed to be a slick professional product, but behind the scenes the other day it got a little interesting. I walked back to our kitchen area to get a cup of coffee and got zoomed by a bird. I checked to make sure it wasn’t a bat, but the frightened fowl was small and meek.

It flew up behind some cupboards and I checked behind the refrigerator to make sure it hadn’t gotten caught up in the coils on the back. No somehow it managed to escape and must have flown up into the ceiling area of the building. If you’ve ever been inside KFIZ it’s more like a warehouse or loft in the office area.

Eventually one of our guys corralled it and got it outdoors, but not before it banged into one of our huge picture windows and stunned itself. Now if you’re going “poor thing” than you’re probably appalled by the recent thrill killings of ducks and deer in Wisconsin. One of those incidents happened right here in Fond du Lac. I’m right along with you on that.

A policeman I know says things like that can really work people up into a lather, but reminded me that there are folks out there committing violent crimes against people that will probably get less jail time than those responsible for wildlife “thrill kills.” He says we should be more ashamed of that. He’s probably right.

Still I can’t see being intentionally cruel to animals. That goes back to an incident that happened when I was very young. It involved my brother John who was only a few years old at the time. My mom caught him swinging a cat by the tail out in the backyard. She was mad. To make her point she picked him up by the legs and began swinging him around, threatening to let him go. How do you like it she asked? Needless to say it scared the heck out of him.

Fortunately that was back in the day when you could get away with disciplining your kid and not have to worry about being charged with child abuse. As for my brother John he loves animals to this day. Wouldn’t you?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Random Thoughts

I wonder how the almighty might get out the 10 commandments these days? I’d be willing to bet that most people can name at least one. Some how Moses made his way down the mountain and they were passed along through the years. I say this after receiving a complaint about the extension of Fond du Lac’s winter parking restrictions.

It was pointed out to me that some people are still unaware of it and how it works. That’s because they don’t read the newspaper or listen to local radio stations. This particular person registered their gripe about it by reading it on and faxing their anonymous thoughts. Plus the city used their city watch program to place robocalls to make people aware of it. As if that weren’t enough they’ve been considering placing notices on message boards along our roads.

This particular person feels the extended restrictions should be scrapped and the city should go with the nighttime only restrictions. It’s a legitimate complaint and it’s particularly hard on our visitors. However I’ve tried navigating a number of streets during daytime hours and although I can get my car through I’m wondering how a plow, fire truck or ambulance can?

A couple weeks ago I sat in the parking lot at the Town of Eldorado Town Hall waiting for word from Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s officials about shootings at a residence just up the road. We know how that turned out, but everyday life continued even as people were being turned away from going up the road during the investigation into the shooting. One officer turned away a realtor who was supposed to show a home up the road. He noted it wasn’t a particularly good day to be showing a property.

Every small town has its local hometown hero. In Manistique, Michigan when it came to athletics it was Ron Rubick. He was a high school football star in the late 1950s who later gained fame as a high school football coach in Manitowoc. He recently passed away. After retiring Rubick moved back to Manistique where he lived until he died. Although I grew up in Manistique I never knew the man, but that doesn’t prohibit me from respecting him. When I played high school football his name was always used whenever people mentioned some of the best teams that ever played for the school.

He could have been selfish, but instead whenever he was asked about his success he credited players, coaches and others he first played with and later coached himself. That’s rare. Rubick’s #33 was actually retired twice. The second time in 2000 because when the original high school was demolished it was misplaced. It was the players of that later era who asked for the second retirement of Rubick’s jersey, kids who played more than 40 years after the “Manistique Missile.”

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Alzheimer's: Getting Lost On Memory Lane!

Sometimes Hollywood endings can be downright cruel. I was disheartened over the holidays to find out that actor Peter Falk is suffering from Alzheimer’s. He’s not one of my favorite actors, but I did enjoy some of the roles he’s played. Of course Lieutenant Columbo, the rumpled detective comes to mind right away. However he also played an angel named Max in a series of TV Christmas films that were also quite enjoyable.

The 81-year-old actor can no longer see to his own affairs and a family member filed for conservancy last month. That’s something I hope I never have to do. However my mother fears it more than anything else that can happen to you when you get older. I know where she’s coming from.

She volunteers in a wing of the local hospital where she lives that she refers to as the “Medicare” unit. That’s because most of the people there are on a Medicare and it’s probably their last stop in life. She’s seen too many people go through there whose memories were ravaged by Alzheimer’s.

A couple that used to live just down the street from us when I was in high school both ended up in that unit. Both of them went through the stages of Alzheimer’s. I remember attending high school with their daughter Carla. One of her grandmothers stayed with them at one time. The woman went for a walk in the all-together one day. Back then they referred to that as senility. Not anymore and apparently it climbed down the family tree.

I worked my way through college by taking jobs both during the school year and during the summer. A few summers I worked at a limestone mine. College kids were looked down on by some of the full-time workers at the mine. I remember a foreman called George who you could always talk to if you were having a problem. Now George is in that “Medicare” unit. He smiles when you call his name, but that’s the only recognition you’ll get out of him.

Lieutenant Columbo had a habit of always coming back when he remembered another question he had for his murder suspects. Of course that was just a gambit, but for the man who played him it no longer is. I hope that I’ll never get lost on Memory Lane.