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Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 31, Jan. 31: 2nd Worst Month

My Favorite Months
Now that my second least favorite month is almost finished, I only have the dreaded heat, humidity and bad memories of July to get through for 2011. Here are my 10 favorite months.
1. October (There's nothing like putting on a sweatshirt
on a cool fall day and jogging with autumn leaves as a backdrop.)
2. September (Summer is done, cool air and football have arrived.)
3. April (Winter in the Midwest is finally finished
and it's starting to get warm - but not too warm.)
4. March (There's Madness on the basketball court
and spring is in the air - eventually.)
5. December (Christmas and winter's first pretty snow.)
6. February (My birthday and the shortest winter month.)
7. November (Thanksgiving and family gatherings.) 
8. May (Early on it's nice, but it starts getting hot too soon sometimes.)
9. June (As you've figured out, I don't like heat and humidity.)
10.August (Ditto)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 30, Jan. 30: Sticky Floors

Favorite Young
Movie Experiences
Our movie club just went to see "The King's Speech." Great film-making and acting, but it only ranks about fifth on my favorites list of 2010. As we sat in the Mindframe Theater, I realized the venue we were in was almost identical to the size and shape of the theater of my childhood. Here are younger movie memories:
1. Handing over two quarters to the old guy in the ticket window
and finally going to a showing without Mom or Dad.
2. Walking the length of a middle row and tossing  paper wads 
into the face of Nancy, the preteen girl I liked.
3. Holding my tennis shoes down on the sticky floor
and picking them back up to make a cool noise.
4. Buying Cherry Drops, Junior Mints and Twizzlers,
and wondering why anybody would buy popcorn.
5. Being old enough to fully appreciate the  Road Runner
during the pre-movie cartoons.
6. Getting told by the old guy at the ticket window
to move back to my own seat after getting in trouble.
7. Watching junior high classmates Ron and Karen smooch.
8. Sitting in the front row, noticing holes in the floor
where other seats used to be and imagining
 how cool  it would be to sit even closer.
9. Rolling Cherry Drops down the floor
and wondering how many rows they would go.
10. Waiting for Mom to pick me up out front
after the movie ended, thinking I was pretty grown up.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 29, Jan. 29: Why I Blog

These are the Top 10 Reasons
I've Decided to Blog in 2011
1. I keep lists of everything and wanted to share them
2. Kris, my wife, and co-worker Rachel both suggested I blog
3. It's a challenge, and I've always liked challenges
4. I love to write, and this is just another outlet
5. Someone said I couldn't stick with it every day, all year
6. I thought it might be fun and it has been
7. Maybe a few people will follow me
8. Perhaps the 365 posts I make this year
will remain indefinitely in cyber-space
9. It's a project, and I love projects
10. It's something to do

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 28, Jan. 28: Hooray!

Photo from FreeImages.co.uk
I'm Back to Normal
Throughout 2011, I've been sick. What started out as a nagging cold turned into a sinus infection and next to laryngitis. Today, after tons of tissue, cold tablets, Nyquil, Vicks, OJ, hugs from Kris, antiobiotics and finally steroids, I'm finally feeling better. I'm most happy today because I can now ...
1. Fully bless my wife Kris with my normal,
healthy and bountiful charm
2. Whistle loud and strong again
3.Run
 4. Get back to writing my newest book
5. Talk, talk, talk to Kris
6.Fall asleep at night
7. Lift weights and throw darts
8. Shovel snow without getting light-headed
9. Tease my co-workers
 10. Take care of Kris




Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 27, Jan.27: Teacher's Pet

My Favorite
All-Time Teachers
Throughout grade school, I was a teacher's pet. Good kid, solid student and able to pull the wool over my teachers' eyes (since I also was mischievious). By junior high, some of my teachers figured me out and, in high school, it was hit-and-miss. College was an unfortunate blur - not because I partied all of the time, though I did my share. I just wasn't mature or outgoing enough to fit in. My senior year in high school was my pinnacle. Sad, huh?
1. Mr Lawrence, 10th-12th (Also a coach, I had him in a few classes. History of the West was my favorite. When he wasn't telling us stories about Tecumseh, he was telling us about his high school friend Killer.)
2. Mrs. Schue, 5th grade (The only teacher to ever address me by "James," her strict, no-nonsense approach helped me grow up just enough to handle the next level.)
3. Mr. Donatell, 7th grade (Short, powerful and intimidating - he had one wooden leg - this algebra teacher was unforgettable. His weapon of discipline was a wooden paddle with holes drilled in it.)
4. Mrs. Grefsheim, 3rd grade (She made reading wonderful by reading to us every day. I especially remember the Pippi Longstocking books.)
5. Mr. Fortney, 10th-12th (I took journalism and Philosophy of Religion from him. I became a newspaper man and learned that it was OK to question the Bible and still maintain your faith.)
6. Mr. Stokes, 9th grade (A science teacher, he also was tough but very fair. One of the few teachers I remember showing a soft side of himself in front of the students.)
7. Mr. Cahee, 7th-9th (A macho gym teacher and former football coach, he was also our chum. An unfortunate episode after we had moved on to high school caused us all to view him differently.)
8. Mr. Goedel, 11th grade (He taught geometry and was one of those unfortunate teachers we took advantage of (but it was fun!) I later dated his daughter for a while.
9. Mrs. Rollie (1st grade - really!) I have fond memories of learning to read and do math. I also remember the day we learned that John F. Kennedy had been shot.
10. Name forgotten (junior in college) I said college was a blur! This man taugh Criminology. I learned to look at both sides of every issue from this professor after he one day brought in a stack of books that said capital punishment was not a deterrent and the next day a stack that said it was.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 26, Jan.26: The Runs

My Favorite Running Routes
of All-Time
1. Heritage Trail, outside Dubuque (The natural surface, shaded stretches and running brooks make it a perfect place to run. I truly believe it's provided me a glimpse of heaven, especially after I lost my first wife Jane to breast cancer.)
2. Snake River, Idaho Falls, Ida. (A path along the river near downtown was book-marked by two bridges. With mountains in the distance and clear air everywhere ... what more can I say?)
3. Peddle Hollow Road, near Kieler, Wis. (It's only about a 4-mile run, but starting at the bottom of Dry Hollow Road and winding up to Hwy 151, you're almost always alone in rural beauty.)
4. Farm field, outside Stoughton, Wis. (The field was adjacent to our home on Starr School Road. I would run around it to practice for high school cross country - I didn't like running on roads back then.)
5. Roosevelt Road, Dubuque (Kris taught me this one. You head out 32nd Street to Peru Road and take Roosevelt. At the top of the long hill, you get a majestic view of Dubuque to the west.)
6. Grandview Avenue, Dubuque (It's my current most common route and the busiest one I've ever regularly taken - I usually like to run alone with my iPod and music. But seeing others isn't so bad.)
7. Along railroad tracks, the Black Hills (I only ran this route twice, during a family vacation. But I'll never forget it. This was a special place for the Lakota Sioux Indians.)
8. Kaufman-Chaney-Asbury, Dubuque (My favorite run when I lived on Napier Street. Most of the time, I'd reverse it and go down Kaufman. I felt proud when I could run all the way up
... and keep going.)
9. Stoughton High School (One of our practice runs - as well as our home race site - was on grass around the school. One long hill made it challenging. Running with teammates was fun.)
10. An old track, Wahlert High School, Dubuque (I don't like running around tracks, but I'd often run this at night during the first few months after Jane died. The repetitive laps were therapeautic.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 25, Jan. 25: Super Bowls

 My Favorite Super Bowls
I've seen every Super Bowl. Many of them are forgettable. In fact, when I went through the list,
I had a tough time finding more than a dozen I really liked. It doesn't help
that I dislike the Patriots, Cowboys and Steelers - that eliminates many.
My beloved Green Packers will play in their fifth Super Bowl in two weeks.
So, I thought it fitting to list my all-time favorites.
 1. Super Bowl XXXI (1997) Packers 35, Patriots 21 (Great win over a hated team. Had a nice party at my house, and saw Brett Favre, Antonio Freeman and Desmond Howard at their best.)
2. Super Bowl XXXIV (2000) Rams 23, Titans 16 (Almost the only OT in SB history. Titan Kevin Dyson tackled at the 1-yard line by Mike Jones as time ran out.)
3. Super Bowl XXIII (1989) 49ers 20, Bengals 16 (Watching QB Joe Montana direct that game-winning 92-yard drive in the last 3:20 ...
it was breath-taking.)
4. Super Bowl XXXII (1998) Broncos 31, Packers 24 (The outcome wasn't great, but at least we made it. And, unlike many people,
I thought John Elway was OK)
5. Super Bowl XX (1986) Bears 46, Patriots 10 (I don't HATE the Bears. In fact, this season, as a sports reporter, I talked to many during preseason camp in Platteville, Wis.)
6. Super Bowl XLII (2008) Giants 17, Patriots 14 (Great game and, believe it or not, I was sad the Patriots didn't go undefeated. The only team I hate more is the loud-mouth 1972 Dolphins.)
7. Super Bowls I & II (1967/1968) Packers 35, Chiets 10 and Packers 33, Raiders 14 (I was so young, these two blend together.
I remember my dad celebrating.)
8. Super Bowl XLIII (2009) Steelers 27, Cardinals 23 (Very competitive game down to the wire. And, I'm a Kurt Warner fan.)
9. Super Bowl III (1969) Jets 16, Colts 6 (I was old enough to admire Joe Namath living up to his pre-game prediction and knowing the Packers hadn't lost to the AFL the two years before.)
10. Super Bowl XIII (1979) Steelers 35, Cowboys 31 (Yes, I don't like either team, but this was a wild and crazy game. It's still the most points scored by a losing team.)





Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 24, Jan. 24: Classic Television

My Favorite "Classic" TV Shows
I Own on DVD
I own only 10. And only one do I have every season.
I hope to add to the collection in the near future.
1. The Andy Griffith Show (favorite episode:
the touching "Mr. McBeevee."
A close second: the hilarious "Convicts at Large.")
2. Twilight Zone (favorite episode: the sentimental "The Hunt."
I have every episode of every season,
thanks to Kris giving it to me as a wonderful wedding present.)
3. Green Acres (favorite episode: Not sure of title, - I don't own it -
but confusion reigns on the phone
between Lisa, her mother and Ralph)
4. The Beverly Hillbillies (favorite episode: "Getting Started,"
featuring the pink (flamingo) chicken and "cement" pond.)
5. Get Smart (favorite episodes: "Get Smart
Meets Hymie, Parts I & II.")
6. Alfred Hitchcock Presents (Favorite episode:
"There Was an Old Woman.")
7. The Time Tunnel (favorite episode: "The Alamo,"
though none were very realistic.)
8. F Troop (favorite episode: "Don't Look Now,
One of Our Cannons is Missing.")
9. The Bennie Hill Show (favorite episodes: Any where Bennie
tapped on the old guy's bald head, which was often)
10. Charlie's Angels (Kris let me have her copy. Wasn't that nice
of her? Favorite episode: I never noticed what they were called.)
Most Wanted TV Shows
1. Flipper (Really! This program will show up later this year
when I list my favorite TV theme songs.)
2. My Three Sons (You gotta love Uncle Charlie)
3. Candid Camera (Just for the look back at the times.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 23, Jan. 23: People of the Bible

My favorite Bible people
(other than Jesus, Mary and Joseph)
1. Paul (An unrepentent sinner and persecutor of the Church,
his amazing conversion proves as much as anyone
that God can save.)
2. Joseph (I get tears in my eyes every time I read
how he finally tells his brothers who he is.
A great example of showing forgiveness.)
3. John the Baptist (He baptized Jesus
and fulfilled his heavenly role.)
4. Moses (His life was one of huge ebbs and flows.
Ultimately, he was one of God's greatest leaders.)
5. Mary Magdalene (I can only imagine what went through
her heart as she changed from sinner
to perhaps Jesus' most devout follower.)
6. Peter (A man so determined to follow Christ, yet he was humbled
after denying Him three times.)
7. Job (His steadfast faith through unimaginable suffering serves
as a great example to us all.)
8. Abraham (Talk about faith! He was ready to sacrifice
his son Issac to God.)
9. Noah (Another man of great faith, he must have
struggled immensely in his heart and soul as he built the ark.)
10. Ruth (She serves as a great example of loyalty
and the Golden Rule, thinking of others first.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 22, Jan. 22: Dart Tourney

Games I've Often Played
Ever since I watched my dad play APBA baseball with dice, I have created my own dice games and other various tournaments involving made-up high school teams. Even today, I occasionally do this. I lift weights in our basement every other day and in between lifts, I throw darts. But I created a massive dart tournament that included every state, with qualifers moving on to nationals. I finished it tonight. Here are the final eight, plus two:
1. San Antonio McAlester, Texas (national champion)
2. Thornridge, Ill. (lost 207-203)
3. Orlando Jones, Fla. (lost 227-211)
4. Richmond Bryan, Va. (lost 219-179)
5. Gary Roosevelt, Ind. (lost 227-180)
6. Hamtramck, Mich. (lost 204-184)
7. Brooklyn Dyke, N.Y. (lost 234-202)
8. West Orange, N.J. (lost 207-187)
Wisconsin state champ: Madison LaFollette
Iowa state champ: Ottumwa

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 21, Jan. 21: '50s Women

My Favorite 1950s
Songs by Females
1. "The Wayward Wind," by Gogi Grant
(I've liked it since I was a kid - in the '60s)
2. "Tennessee Waltz," by Patti Page (Kris gave me this one on a CD;
one of my all-time favorites to whistle to)
3. "Secret Love," by Doris Day (Soaring and sentimental)
4. "Walking After Midnight," by Patsy Cline
(she has the most on my Top 20 of this list)
5. "Let Me Go Lover," Teresa Brewer (Heart-breaker)
6. "Que Sera, Sera," by Doris Day 
(Figured prominently in an Alfred Hitchcock film)
7. "Crazy," by Patsy Cline (Her greatest hits are great)
8. "Tammy," by Doris Day (Very pleasant)
9. "I'm Sorry," by Brenda Lee (Another tear-jerker)
10. "Who's Sorry Now," by Connie Francis (Has a 1960s feel to it)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 20, Jan. 20: Oft-injured

When I was younger, I would annoy my mom by constantly bragging about and showing off
any injuries I might receive. There's still a little of that left in me as I recall these classics.
My Most Memorable Injuries
1. The Tree (I nearly knocked myself out one winter evening in 1990. Walking back to the TH office from a hockey game with my young son, Jay, I looked across the street for a moment, turned and slammed my face into a tree. Had to go to the emergency room, but didn't need stitches.)
2. The Lawnmower (Six years ago, I already had flooded the mower engine by tipping it to clean out debris, so the 2nd time it clogged, I tried reaching under the very edge - while it was still running! Kris came and took me to the ER. The result is pictured above.)
3. The Athlete (Playing pickup basketball at the Y in 1986, I severely sprained my left ankle. Was on crutches for several days. A sports reporter, I drove to Cassville, Wis., to cover a bball game. The pain was so bad, I had to put my foot out the window as I drove - in 15 degree temperatures!)
4. The Shed (just 4 years old, I was playing out by a tobacco shed. The wind blew the huge door on top of me. I landed on my stomach, but my right leg was crushed up behind me to my head. In the hospital for eight weeks!)
5. The Swing (18 years later, I helped a farmer work his tobacco fields. During lunch break, I tripped while vigorously pushing his young daughter on a tire swing. Cracked my wrist, but still managed to plant the rest of the afternoon.
6. The Fall (living in Gillette, Wyo., I had gone out for a night of partying. Arriving back at the trailer home, I stepped out on a small landing to take a leak, lost my balance, fell off and nearly sprained my ankle.)
7. Embarrassed (I love to tightrope railings and even the tops of swingsets. On a cold day when I was 12, I thought I was good enough to tight rope an icy railing next to a bridge. I slipped, landed flush on my thigh and limped home with my tail between my legs.)
8. The Rook (A senior in high school, I was trying to carve my own wooden chess pieces. Slipped on a rook and gashed my left pointer.)
9. Athlete's Foot (It was bad enough having this affliction as a junior high student, but I stepped on a clothes hanger and jammed the point in between my toes, into the fungus.
10. In the Shins (as a kid, I was always running instead of walking. At least four times, I slipped while running up cement steps, causing four different gashes in my shins. Scars remain.)




Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 19, Jan. 19: More than 2 Movies

My favorite "series" of movies
1. Planet of the Apes (As a youngster, I was mesmerized by them.
Now, they're nostalgic fun.)
2. Back to the Future (Entertaining and quite creative.)
3. Toy Story (Creative, entertaining and sweet.)
4. Star Wars (As you'll see, I'm not a big Sci-Fi fan,
but these were ground-breaking.)
5. Abbott & Costello Meet (Invisible Man and Frankenstein
are my favorites.)
6. Rocky (After IV, I started to lose interest,
but the most recent was surprisingly good.)
7. James Bond 007 (The 1970s were my favorites.)
8. Indiana Jones (Action-packed and lots of fun.)
9. Harry Potter (Read 31/2 of the books.)
10. Spider-Man (Best super hero series.)
Popular series I didn't care for
Batman   Superman   Star Trek
Lord of the Rings    The Bourne series
The Terminator   Die Hard   The Matrix
Pirates of the Caribbean
Friday the 13th   Halloween   Nightmare   Saw



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 18, Jan. 18: Civil War Battlefields

Photos: That's me next to the cannon at Shiloh in April 1987.
The Confederates in the other photo were were getting ready
for a large re-enactment of the April 6-7, 1862 battle. 

 Battlefields I've visited
1. Shiloh, Tenn. (Only the second battlefield I'd ever visited,
it included a fabulous re-enactment on a very hot day.)
2. Antietam, Md. (One of many sites I visited on my own.
It was a cool, overcast day during the offseason.
Standing near Bloody Lane ... well, it was sadly amazing.)
3. Gettysburg, Pa. (My first, it would have ranked higher,
but I was on a strange trip with a woman I barely knew.)
4. Bull Run, Va. (Took time off during a work-related seminar
 on another cold day with hardly anyone else around.)
5. Pea Ridge, Ark. (During a 1990s family trip to Missouri,
we took a detour to stop here, barely getting inside the gates
before it closed for the day.)
6. Petersburg/Cold Harbor, Va. (Another family trip, I was amazed
at how close some of the trenches were to each other
in this deadly arena.)

 Battlefields I most want to see 
1. Chickamauga, Ga. (second bloodiest battle - behind Gettysburg -
yet seldom discussed in the mainstream.)
2. The Wildnerness, Va. (I would love to get a feel
of how thick those woods were.)
3. Fredericksburg, Va. (I would love to see the ground
the Union tried to cross several times in trying to take Mayre Heights)
4. Chancellorsville, Va. (Perhaps Robert E. Lee's greatest victory
at the cost of losing Stonewall Jackson.)
Did you notice the two Civil War bullets next to the photos?
Part of my very small collection.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 17, Jan. 17: Dad


Photos: (Top) Holding my youngest son, Shawn. (Bottom) Reading to my oldest son, Jay.
Things I remember most
about my late dad, Lee
He grew up on a farm and was a proud, quiet man.
He loved to whistle very loudly.
He was a manual laborer and very strong.
He loved the Green Bay Packers.
He started playing golf at 40 and loved it to his premature death.
He loved my mom but wasn't openly affectionate.
He was very spiritual but seldom went to church.
He would hit me fly balls for hours.
He loved to laugh, especially after a few beers with family.
I never saw him cry.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 16, Jan. 16: Kids' Games

My favorite indoor games as a kid
1. Skittle Ball
(A small ball on a chain swings around to knock over pins,
much like bowling. My late father
created a wooden version that lasted many years.)
2. Sorry (Simple and quick.)
3. Clue (Creative and clever.)
4. Battleship (Mano y mano)
5. Gnip Gnop
(A small enclosed plastic structure holds three balls on each side.
Two players on opposite sides try to bounce
their balls to the other side first.)
6. Trouble (It was fun punching the dice bubble)
7. Aggravation (Got competitive juices flowing)
8. Electric football
(This would rank higher, but my guys would always
bunch up or fall over.)
9. Operation (Never had it, but played it at a friend's house)
10. Twister
(Never DID play this when I was old enough
to REALLY appreciate it!)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 15, Jan. 15: Serious Saturday II

Social/political changes the past 30 years
that make me the most sad
Some of these began to change even before 1980, but they've gotten worse.
The breakdown of the traditional family
(especially in the black community)
The increased promiscousness of television
(there is no family time anymore)
The steady loss of the middle class
(the rich get richer, the poor get poorer)
A far right view that most liberals are not patriotic or spiritual
(this is a damaging generalization)
A far left view that most conservatives are not intelligent or tolerant
(this is a damaging generalization)
Parents who blame teachers when their kids fail
to excel or behave at school (responsibility starts at home)
Under-achieving teachers who can't lose their jobs
because of their union (the kids must come first)
The increased promiscuousness of music
(especially rap, hip-hop and rock)
Screens of all sizes and shapes that dominate
too many peoples' lives (I keep a keen eye on my use)
An increase in obesity, especially among children
(often because their lives are dominated by screens)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 14, Jan. 14: Contempory television

Favorite TV shows:
1985-present
For the most part, I don't like contemporary TV. I am not interested in ANY reality shows, which eliminates a huge portion of what is offered these days. Most of the comedies are too raunchy for my taste. The dramas are too dramatic. I watch old shows, movies, sports and the political channels. Still, I found 10 programs from the past 25 years - as long as I've been in Dubuque. I've also listed 10 popular programs that I have no interest in seeing a single episode.
Favorites
1. Early Edition (involved the newspaper industry
and the whole family could watch)
2. Seinfeld (I was a late-comer to this classic,
which is great in reruns, too.)
3. The Wonder Years (Kevin and Winnie ...
another great family program)
4. Arrested Development (NOT for the whole family,
but Kris and I love watching it together on our DVDs)
5. Seventh Heaven (my young boys loved it
and learned some great lessons)
6. Scrubs (Kris got me hooked - for a while - on this.
I think of her every time I happen across a rerun
while working the remote)
7. Coach (sports was the draw,
but the characters were very good)
8. The Simpsons (not a regular viewer,
but when I watch, I laugh)
9. Married With Children (I know, it's raunchy, politically incorrect,
sexist ... but I'm not perfect)
10. The Office (not a regular viewer, I could some day
see myself buying the DVDs)
Shows I've Never Seen
and have no interest in seeing
CSI (in any city)   Desperate Housewives
Everybody Loves Raymond   Family Guy
Friends     Lost     Mad Men
The West Wing   24   X-Files
My absolute least favorite, even when I accidentally come upon it for 1 second: Roseanne.




Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 13, Jan. 13: Soul of '72

My Top 1972 songs
by black musicians
I like more songs from 1972 than any other year.
This is just one of my Top 10 lists from that year.
1. "Too Late to Turn Back Now,"
by the Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose
2. "Oh Girl," by the Chi-Lites
3. "Let's Stay Together," Al Green
4. "Use Me," by Bill Withers
New No. 5. "If You Don't Know Me By Now,"
Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
(Thanks to Erik H. comment. How could I forget?
I love it and even have it on a 45 record!)
5. "Last Night (I Didn't Get to Sleep at All)," 
by the Fifth Dimension
6. "I'll Take You There," by the Pointer Sisters
7. "I Can See Clearly Now," by Johnnie Nash
8. "Everybody Plays the Fool," by the Main Ingredient
9. "Freddie's Dead," by Curtis Mayfield
10. "Family Affair," by Sly & the Family Stone

What do these five 1973 artists have in common?
B.W. Stevenson, Clint Holmes, Hurricane Smith,
Jud Strunk and Stories?
Go to the March 7 blog entry to figure it out

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 12, Jan. 12: Meatless Mondays ...

... Jim Style
Swensons have to have their meat. It's handed down from my dad Lee, from his dad Sigurd all the way back to Erik the Red, I'm sure. But Kris suggested I join her in Meatless Mondays. One day - just one! - where we wouldn't eat meat. I had trouble thinking of things I'd eat instead, especially for dinner. She said Google "Meatless Monday." So I did. Here are 10 probably very appetizing options I found among dozens - and I wouldn't touch any of them. (I've been called "fussy" at times). After that, I came up with 10 I could live with - seriously.
Most are pretty healthy, too!
Menu ideas from Googling                                      
"Meatless Mondays" 
* Acorn Squash Chickpea Bulgur                                                   
* Beet, Pear & Endive Salad
* Currie Lentils with Mint Rice
* Eggplant Zucchini Bean Loaf
* Nutty Vegetable Saute
* Pinto-Bean Falfafel with Avocado
* Quinon Zucchini Burgers
* Roasted Pepper Pecan Pesto Pasta
* Sauteed Artichokes in Lemon
* Zesty Cabbage Curry

Menu ideas from Jim's
fussy taste buds (add glass of milk to any of them)
* Peanut Butter "Wheat" Toast and Bananas
* Big plate of Caesar Salad with Croutons, Tomatoes and Cucumbers
* "The Orange Special:" Toasted "Wheat" Cheese Sandwich, Carrots and Cheetos
* Bean Soup with Ham Flavoring, Pineapple and glass of "Wheat" Beer
* Fried Egg "Wheat" Toasted Sandwiches and Strawberries
* A bunch of Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts and a small bag of Famous Amos Cookies
* "Movie Night Special:" Medium-sized Mindframe Theater Buttered Popcorn and Milk Duds
* Two Scrambled Eggs, Two Slices of "Wheat" Toast and Celery Sticks
* Big Bowl of Honey Nut Hy-Vee Tasteeos, Peaches and Carrots.
* Fried Potatoes, Beans, Fritoes, Pineapple and glass of "Wheat" Beer.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 11, Jan. 11: Wish I Was There



Places I Wish
I Could Have Been
Listening to Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount
At Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech
At the site of ANY tornado that doesn't do any damage
Observing Abraham Lincoln as he welcomed visitors
to the White House
Watching Tyrus Raymond Cobb steal home
On the deck of an early explorer's ship as it landed in America
On the surface of the moon with any astronaut who walked on it
At my parents' wedding
Watching Jesse Owens' at the Olympics in Germany
At bedside when my first wife died of breast cancer
(I just missed being there)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 10, Jan. 10: One fruity guy

My (current) Top 10 Favorite Fruits
1. Pineapple (this didn’t even crack my Top 10 when I was a kid.
We never ate it while I was growing up.)
2. Strawberries (Former No. 1, barely hanging on to No. 2 ...)
3. Raspberries (A real up-and-comer,
especially as a flavor in cheesecake!)
4. Oranges (Might rank higher, but I hate peeling them.)
5. Peaches (Messy, but small enough to handle.)
6. Watermelon (Might rank higher, but very messy and very big
— until you cut it up, which is a hassle.)
7. Pears (Sort of plain, but dependable,
especially when ripened to the right moment.)
8. Grapes (Usually the green ones, although the purple ones
are good when they’re not too large.)
9. Apples (A bit over-rated, but the right one
at the right time hits the spot.)
10. Pomegranate (This really isn’t in my Top 10,
but it’s such a cool-sounding fruit!)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 9, Jan. 9: Packers' postseason

Favorite (and least favorite) GB Packers postseason games (since Brett Favre arrived)
A lifelong Packers’ fan, I rank today’s 21-16 win over the Eagles equal to the No. 5 favorite below, since it’s QB Aaron Rodgers’ first playoff win. The beginning of the Favre era also relates to the birth of my two sons - 1986 and 1990. 

FAVORITE POST-SEASON WINS
1 Jan. 26, 1997: The 35-21 Super Bowl victory over the Patriots. Desmond Howard’s key kickoff return for a TD was the highlight.
2 Jan. 4, 2004: The 33-27 wildcard OT victory over the Seahawks. I admired Seattle QB Matt Hasselback’s spirited “We want the ball and we’re gonna score” after winning the OT coin flip. But I was glad when he threw the game-losing interception to GB’s Al Harris.
3 Jan. 13, 2002: The 25-15 wildcard win over the 49ers. San Francisco was tough to beat back then and we got four second-half Brett Favre scoring drives to win.
4 Jan. 12, 2008: The 42-20 divisional playoff win over the Seahawks. After trailing early, 14-0, GB scored on its next six possessions in a dominating performance.
5 Jan. 8, 1994: The 28-24 wildcard win over the Lions. It was Favre’s first playoff win. His TD pass to Shannon Sharpe with less than 1 minute to go won it.

LEAST FAVORITE POSTSEASON LOSSES
1 Jan. 11, 2004: The 20-17 NFC divisional loss to the Eagles. 4th-and-26 is all you need to know. Donovan McNabb’s 28-yard completion to Freddie Mitchell still haunts me.
2 Jan. 25, 1998: The 31-24 Super Bowl loss to the Broncos. You hate to lose a Super Bowl, but just making it is cool. And, I’m one of the few who found solace in John Elway finally winning.
3 Jan. 20, 2008: The 23-20 OT NFC championship loss to the Giants. Not only was Favre’s late-game interception the reason they lost, it was his last pass as a Packer.
4 Jan. 10, 2010: The wild 51-45 wildcard loss to the Cardinals. A missed call on grabbing Rodgers' facemask help cause a fluke fumble that Karlos Darby scooped up for a winning TD.
5 Jan. 3, 1999: The 30-27 wildcard loss to the 49ers. GB led 27-23 with less than 2:00 to go. QB Steve Young hit Terrell Owens with the game-winning TD with just over 10 seconds left. Jerry Rice had fumbled on an earlier reception, but the refs missed it. The following season, instant replay was instituted.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 8, Jan. 8: Serious Saturday I

Reasons I believe I am an independent,
when it comes to politics.
I'm ...
Anti-abortion 
(especially partial birth)
Anti-death penalty
(my conscious won’t let me be against abortion and for this)
Anti-big government
(provide us with the basics, then let us become accountable)
Pro gun control
(we have constitutional rights, but common sense tells me we need some control, too)
I watch Fox and MSNBC
(but mostly CNN)
Limit national defense spending
(if we don’t, our debt will doom us before any terrorists do)
Limit social security
(see above explanation; and I'm a BABY BOOMER!)
Get serious about illegal immigration control
(and celebrate LEGAL immigrants)
Don’t dismantle Obama-care
(but tweak it wherever consensus sees fit)
Celebrate all religions
(even Christianity; but don't diss atheists)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 7, Jan. 7: Favorites few others favor


From what I've heard,
most people don't like these ... but I do
Bed spins after having a couple too many
(mostly when I was younger - it was like a ride at the carnival)
Cinnabar perfume
(a Southern belle I knew wore this)
TMI warning: Popping blackheads
(my mom used to do this for my dad's back)
Raking leaves
(it gets a little tougher every year, though)
Roger Moore as James Bond
(my friends and I have great memories)
Spam
(only when it's cut thin and fried well-done)
The Staples commercial: "Wow!! That's a good price!"
(Haven't seen it lately. How come?)
The Wings "Wildlife" album
(How can you not like "Bip Bop!")
Ty Cobb
(Sure he was a jerk, but wow could he play.)
"You're Having My Baby," by Paul Anka
(It's sweet and not that bad of a tune ... is it?)


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 6, Jan. 6: Covering the Beatles


My favorite Beatles' songs covered by others
1. "You Won't See Me," by Anne Murray
2. "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," by Elton John
3. "Got to Get You into My Life," by Earth, Wind & Fire
4. "Here Comes the Sun," Richie Havens
5. "Ticket to Ride," The Carpenters
6. "Wait," by Ben Kweller (with Albert Hammond Jr.)
7. "We Can Work it Out," by Stevie Wonder
8. "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," by Joe Cocker
9. "Come Together," by Aerosmith
10. "Ob La Di, Ob La Da," by Marmalade
Honorable mention (from Kris): "#9 Dream," by R.E.M.
(And, yes, I know it's Lennon, but Kris made me do it.)
Here are 10 actual covers that I'm glad I never heard:
"All My Loving," by The Chipmunks; "Drive My Car," by Sesame Street; "From Me to You," by Debbie Boone; "Girl," by Tiny Tim; "Hey Jude," by Lawrence Welk; "Help!" by Dolly Parton; "I Am the Walrus," by Jim Carrey; "Let it Be," by Chevy Chase; "Love Me Do," by The Brady Bunch; and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," by William Shatner (beam me up, John and George)

See a related blog on April 11

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 5, Jan. 5: Least favorite things about having a cold

     Not sure if I should stay home from work or not.
Can't smell the roses.
     Lack enough energy to disagree with my wife on anything.
The snot.
     Not sure if I should starve it or feed it.
Lack enough energy to work up my daily sweat.
     Clear my throat even more than I usually do.
Fear I'm going to spread it.
     The snot.
Not sure when it will ever end.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 4, Jan. 4: Favorite reasons I stay slim,
I ...
 Never eat until I'm stuffed.
(It's a fine line between being full and stuffed - I don't cross it.)
 Work up at least a little sweat every day.
(Except when I have a bad cold, like today :-(
 Don't eat a whole bag or bar of any chocolate candy.
(Half today, half tomorrow.)
 Jog up the stairs.
(Some say take them instead of the elevator; I say jog 'em.)
 TMI warning: Work regular bowel movements into my schedule
(two in a day is a bonus!)
Don't eat ANY dessert if I'm full after a meal (see first reason)
 Satisfy a daily mid-morning hunger with a handful of peanuts
(salted, too!)
 Seldom sit still for more than an hour
(at work or at home; I get up and move)
 Hardly ever add cheese or bacon to any foods
(stay plain, stay slim)
 Am small-boned
(and my wife, Kris, says my metabolism is very high) 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 3, Jan. 3: Homes So Sweet


I've lived in my share of interesting homes in my life. Here are my most unique:

A mobile home in Gillette, Wyo., in 1981. Shared it with a crusty, but cool, red-bearded railroad man named Joe.
Current Georgian Revival home on Hill Street in Dubuque with wife, Kris.
It's more than 100 years old and has had funerals in it.
Alone, in the basement of a Stoughton, Wis., home owned by little old lady, 1979-80.
It's where I heard that John Lennon was shot.
Half of a duplex near the Snake River in Idaho Falls, Ida., in 1982.
Skinny-dipped in the Snake with a woman on her birthday.
A Stoughton-area farm house as a child in the the 1960s.
Broke my leg at age 4 when a shed door fell on me.
A modern apartment complex just outside of Fulton, Mo., in 1980.
Shared it with another journalist named Ed.
Another old Dubuque house on a hill, lower apartment, mid 1980s.
Great little basketball court in the back.
A little rented home on a highway near Kieler, Wis., late 1980s.
My two sons were brought back from the hospital to this home.
An older haunted home on Page Street, Stoughton, early 1970s.
To this day, my mom insists it was haunted when we lived there.
A home in rural Stoughton that my dad mostly built.
We left it in the early '70s and moved to the haunted house. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 2, Jan. 2: The T-shirts off my back


The second day of the year already. I own far too many T-shirts, but I've had many memorable ones.
My favorite T-shirts of all-time
A gray Boston Red Sox T-shirt from my only trip to Fenway Park, 2 years ago. (Took my son!)
A maroon Scrabble T-shirt that says ‘You can’t spell “awesome” without me.
A black, 1981 spring break T-shirt with a slogan from a tequila bottle. (And I hate tequila!)
A tight-fitting, very soft skin-colored T-shirt worn only under long-sleeved shirts.
A 1970s blue-and-white Kerr McGee slow-pitch softball T-shirt. (We were good!)
An olive-colored San Diego Zoo T-shirt with a huge gorilla on the back.
My bright orange, youth baseball T-shirt. (We were the Orioles.)
A 1994 Wisconsin Rose Bowl champions T-shirt. (We won! I covered it for a newspaper.)
A gray 1990s St. Louis Cardinals T-shirt. (I coached a LL team called the Cardinals.)
A T-shirt from a breast-cancer, fundraising 10K run with my first wife’s photo on the back. (It’s too sad to be higher)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 1: Favorite times on a digital clock


12:34 (It used to be a.m., when I was a younger partier. It’s p.m. now).
11:11 (It’s so soothing.)
12:12 (Harder, I like the firmness of it.)
1:23 (Very ordered, almost organized.)
10:10 (Pleasant, like a :-)
1:11 (Simple Simon.)
3:21 (Starting to count down another day at work.)
12:59 (Can’t get any higher.)
3:33 (Just like it better than 2:22, 4:44 or 5:55).
1:01 (Makes the list, but also makes me sad for some reason.)