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Departure from the norm

May 30, 2008 6:33 p.m. | The wonderful thing about having a blog (not just here, but at any venue) is that I can talk about pretty much anything. I'm fairly confident that my affinity for government and politics has been previously shown here, and I'm all for good discussion about that. However, due to the wonderfully free nature of blogging, this time I'm going to discuss something altogether unrelated.

As a child of the 1990's, it can be safely assumed that I am inherently biased. However, that does not at all change the fact that music released this decade has paled in comparison to that released in the 1990s. Turning on popular radio reveals little but two things: men attempting to sound like girls, crooning over lost love; and rap songs that all sound similar, singing about female body parts.

The allegedly "alternative" radio is scarcely better. Most of the time it features guys attempting to sound burley and strong screaming into the mic about how awful life is. Additionally, the music in these songs far too quickly sounds extremely similar to the song before it, and the one after. The best thing that can be said about theses stations are that they occasionally play Nirvana.

What happened to innovation? Trying new things, experimenting with new sounds? While this has never been a truly marketable idea, it seemed that, in the 1990s, new sound would break through and challenge our ideas of what music could do. Nirvana burst onto the scene in the early part of the decade, replacing the tired (and ironically mainstream) "rebellious" glam that came before it. The aptly named "post-grunge" revolution lead bands to experiment with new sounds. Combining them with the established sounds, this gave us great bands like Live, The Goo Goo Dolls, Third Eye Blind, and many more. Also spawning from the grunge revolution was purer sounding metal bands. Examples like Nine Inch Nails redefined the stereotypical image of what music could be made from.

When turning on popular music today, you'll hear very little but worthless drivel. Innovation has disappeared, only to introduce a new, single driven market. With the popularity of services like Itunes, where one doesn't have to purchase an entire album, artists often focus on one radio driven song, with the rest being filler. This, in culmination with the idea that the music itself isn't as important as lyrics (as opposed to the two forces working in harmony) has lead to an increasingly dire situation for modern music. The technologically savvy have turned to independent bands who, despite thriving and creating true works of art, will never achieve mainstream success.

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Day 2 of the new hearing aids

May 30, 2008 4:45 p.m. | Well, I woke up this morning and had that familiar ache in the ear canal from wearing new ear molds yesterday for the first time.  I have to say that since everyone else was still asleep (5:00am), I cheated and didn't put them in until around 7:00am.  I know.....you are supposed to put them in first thing in the morning....

Decided to partake of the bird life since I've heard everyone talk about how neat they all sound for years.  Got a cup of coffee and stepped outside.  High piercing assault began!  Since the processing part of my brain has not heard these sounds, it didn't quite know what to do with it other than tell me to shut the source of the noise off.  Another little talk with myself on that one and once again continued to 'listen'.  Since I don't know what birds make what sounds, I went back inside and got out the bird book.  Took up my spot on the front porch again and tried to sort out just what exactly the calls were that I was hearing.  The morning doves were easy.  Had an interesting time with the finches, robins and sparrows.  Brought my laptop outside (Roadrunner Wireless rocks!) and found a website that had the bird calls on it.  What a mistake that was!  Once I started the program and had a bird 'singing' on my laptop, the real birds in the yard were not happy.  I believe there is a bit of racism in the bird population!  Where's the NAACP when you need them?

For those of you that don't know me, we live on about 1 1/2 acres out in what used to be the country.  So, one of my fanatical things to do is have bird feeders EVERYWHERE.  Now, keep in mind that these feeders have been filled for the last 15 years and I'm sure that the birds have a certain routine that they follow every morning.  Well, I just goofed all of them up.  I had blue jays diving and crows cawing.  The cardinals were frantic and the poor yellow finches headed for the tops of the trees.  At one point, a chipmunk scampered by me and looked over his shoulder as if to say, "What on earth are you doing"?  I finally realized that I was listening to a Peregrine Falcon on the laptop, which in turn caused all of the other "peaceful" birds to freak out.  I'll have to put a few extra treats out later today to apologize to all of them.

But, for those of you out there that are looking for something to do that will shake up things a bit, grab your laptop, go to a bird website and let the games begin.  I guarantee that you will shake up the neighborhood winged population and probably be known as a less than friendly bird lover.  Don't forget to have a bag of peanuts on hand as an apology to all of them....

Have a great week!

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Early morning fire destroys Genesee Depot church

May 30, 2008 12:45 p.m. | Highway 83 in Genesee Depot was closed to traffic until nearly 9:30 a.m. this morning while firefighters worked on the blaze which destroyed the steeple of the Genesee Apostolic Tabernacle Church.

Firefighters from numerous surrounding departments assisted the Wales-Genesee Fire Department, which responded to a call at 2:36 a.m. of a structure fire at W313 S4214 Hwy. 83. Sheriff's officials have not determined the cause of the blaze, but overnight storms may be to blame.

No one was in the building at the time of the fire. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Chargers robotics team to hold Robo Run fundraiser

May 30, 2008 12:34 p.m. | The Hamilton Chargers robotics team will hold its annual 5-kilometer Robo Run fundraiser at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 31, in Menomonee Park. Everyone is invited to participate or watch.

Ex-doctor held over for fatal crash

May 30, 2008 12:30 p.m. | Waukesha - A court commission bound Mark M. Benson over for trial Friday following testimony that the former surgeon was impaired by prescription drugs when his SUV rear-ended a car April 25 in the City of Oconomowoc killing a woman, her unborn child and daughter.

Waukesha County Circuit Court Commissioner Thomas Pieper ordered Benson, 55, of Town of Summit, to stand trial on charges of three counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, two counts of drunken driving while causing injury, and driving with a revoked license. Benson is scheduled to appear in court July 14 for an arraignment hearing.

Killed in the crash that occurred at about 3:40 p.m. on Highway 67 near Pabst Road were Jennifer Bukosky, 39, of Town of Oconomowoc, an associate principal at Oconomowoc High School, her unborn child that was due in June and her daughter, Courtney Bella, 10. Also injured were Bukosky's son, Zachary, 12, and Deborah Gibbs, 10, a friend of the family.

A medical toxicologist, Dr. Richard Tovar, testified the level of narcotics found in Benson's blood the day of the fatal crash would have impaired his ability to drive. A state Crime Lab report showed Benson had Xanax, Ambien and Oxycodone in his system.

The morning of the crash, Benson had his prescription for Xanax and Ambien had been filled. Each bottle had 30 pills but when he was questioned at Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital he only had 25 of each, according  to the criminal complaint. Benson told police he had taken the pills during the morning along with one Oxycodone pill.

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UPDATE: Arrowhead netters begin Day 2

May 30, 2008 8:47 a.m. | Arrowhead singles players Jack Swan and Will Krieger are both in action today at the WIAA Division 1 state tennis tournament.

Senior Will Krieger defeated Austin Jiang of Bay Port on Thursday in first round action at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison, 7-5, 6-4, advancing to a match scheduled for 10 a.m. today. Krieger (17-1) will meet Sam Lillie of Whitefish Bay (19-5), with the winner advancing to the state quarterfinals.

Top singles player Jack Swan (14-3) received a first-round bye Thursday and will face Alex Mattson of Homestead (26-3) in a match slated for 8:30 a.m. today. Should either advance, quarterfinal matches will take place Friday afternoon.

Arrowhead's top doubles team Craig Caliendo and Ricky Bero fell in their first round match Thursday against West Bend West tandem Chad Engelbrecht and Lorenzo DiMatteo, 6-2, 6-2. The pair finished 12-9.

UPDATE: Swan won his first match, 6-1, 6-4. He'll play Andrew Bayliss of Sheboygan North (22-4) at 2 p.m.

Celebrity Endorses Candidate, Loses Fan II

May 30, 2008 8:05 a.m. | Remember Alec Baldwin, the actor that promised to leave the country if Bush was elected?  Now the next "I think I'm an important person and people should listen to me" idiotic celebrity has uttered a similar promise.  Susan Sarandon has promised to move to Italy or Canada if Obama is not elected. 

Why wait?  Go now, and please take any other similarly clueless super egos with you.  Once again proving that some people are better at reading lines others have written for them (Obama), then saying what they think.

 Update on Alec Baldwin:  He never left, and he is doing quite well for himself.  Love his work on 30 Rock.  

AHS baseball teams stop KM

May 30, 2008 6:52 a.m. |  Arrowhead's varsity baseball team handed host Kettle Moraine its first loss of the season last Thursday night, scoring a 7-4 Classic 8 Conference victory. The game was the 1,000th for AHS coach Tim O'Driscoll.

Eric Van Beck of the Warhawks was the winning pitcher, tossing a six-hitter. He struck out seven in going the distance. KM starter Dalton Grove took the loss.

Matt Mayoras and Karl Sprung led the Arrowhead offense with two hits apiece. Cody Smith and Grove had two hits each for the Lasers and Casey Casper homered for Kettle Moraine.

KM is 5-1 on the season and AHS is now 1-1-1.

Lightning might have started fire

May 30, 2008 6:51 a.m. | Lightning is believed to have sparked the fire that damaged the 100-year-old Genesee Apostolic Tabernacle Church in Genesee Depot.

Genesee church fire

May 30, 2008 6:08 a.m. | Several fire departments are fighting a fire at the Genesee Apostolic Tabernacle Church in Genesee Depot this morning. The church has sustained heavy damage.

American values?

May 29, 2008 10:14 p.m. | Amnesty International released its annual report on the state of human rights around the world today.

Sixty years after the United Nations adopted the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, many nations still mistreat, even torture, their fellow humans.

Called out for especially inhumane policies: China, Russia, and the United States of America.

The United States was singled out for the extra-legal prison at Guantánamo and other “secret detention centers,” and for refusing to “prosecute the detainees under fair trial standards, or release them.”

And for failing to “unequivocally reject the use of torture and ill-treatment.”

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Day One!

May 29, 2008 9:35 p.m. | Got my new hearing aids today.  For those of you that are interested, they are the ReSound Azure AZ71 BTE's.  Let the hearing games begin.....

While at the audiologists office, we tried an 'open fit' which means that instead of an ear mold in your ear, there is just a very thin tube that is attached to a very small tulip shaped ear-piece.  Unfortunately, my loss is not agreeable to this set-up in that I will have too much feedback.  So, we moved on to the ear-molds that had been made from impressions a couple of weeks ago.  I had my hopes up that maybe I could go with the open fit in that this would have allowed the natural sounds that I do hear to be processed normally, but I went to the appointment today with my only goal being able to hear better than I ever have.  So, I quickly let the internal frustration die and move on to the more positive.

With the new ear molds in place (boy, are those things tiny compared to my old ones!), Tricia ran the program for the aids on her computer with me being hooked up via wires.  Lots of strange machine sounds and then, WOW!  Brain went into overload as I'm trying to process what all of this noise is.  I've been mentally prepared for this for the last few weeks in that I tried to remember just what a shock it was 5 years ago when I went to the digital aids.  But, no matter how well I thought that I was prepared, this was more than I expected.

I guess that I looked pretty shocked because Tricia (my audiologist at the Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) asked me if I was OK.  The sound was so intense that I had tears in my eyes.  Part of me wanted to yank the darn things out and go back to what I knew as hearing for the past 5 years.  But, the rational part of me waited it out and told my brain to calm down and start getting to work.  Amazing what an office sounds like!  I thought that I was hearing wind in the background to the point that Tricia put me in the testing booth (soundproof) to see if we could figure out what I was hearing.  It was the ventilation fan coming through the air ducts. 

So, we got back to the fitting room and she did a little more tweaking.  My husband was sitting behind me and at one point yawned.  I quickly turned around to see what the heck he was doing and that's when we both realized that my world was about to change as I took another giant leap into the hearing world.  Since this was the first time that he has been with me for this part of the process, he was also full of questions for me mentally, but the deal that we made before the fitting was that there could only be one person talking to me or else I was probably going to get all goofed up.  His reward for this was a trip to Bakers' Square for pie.  Yes, I'm married to a guy that can eat like a horse and not gain any weight. 

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Not Really the News

May 29, 2008 8:52 p.m. | Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell (and McClellan) Lied Us into Attacking Iraq
Former Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan, a life-long Bush sycophant, confesses in his new book that he helped hustle us into an unnecessary invasion of Iraq. (Thanks for finding your backbone now that it doesn’t matter, Scott. Fortunately for you, it’s never too late to be called a traitor.)

Expensive Gasoline Discourages Unnecessary Driving
Compared with March a year ago, Americans drove an estimated 4.3 percent less – that's 11 billion fewer miles. The Federal Highway Administration called it "the sharpest yearly drop for any month… since 1942".  (Raise the gas tax now - based on vehicle weight or volume purchased.)

Global Warming is Not a Figment of Al Gore’s Imagination
Under a court order and four years late, the White House produced its report of specific threats to the United States from man-made global warming, including increased heat deaths and deaths from climate-worsened smog, worsening water shortages for agriculture and urban users, more death and damage from wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters caused by extreme weather. "Many of the expected health effects are likely to fall disproportionately on the poor, the elderly, the disabled and the uninsured." (Good news for Bush. Hell will be cooler than Texas.)

McCain = Bush

According to a Congressional Quarterly analysis of Senate votes on issues President Bush expressed “an explicit, stated opinion,” Sen. John McCain voted with President Bush 100 percent of the time in 2008 and 95 percent of the time in 2007. (Maverick my ass.)

AHS girls make statement

May 29, 2008 5:41 p.m. | On the strength of two 5-1 victories Thursday afternoon at Waukesha West, the Arrowhead Warhawks varsity girls softball team qualified for the WIAA State Tournament next week.

Arrowhead defeated Watertown in the WIAA Division 1 semifinal before it handled Waukesha West in the sectional championship game by the same count.

Heidi Emmer was the winning pitcher against Watertown. Jami Kessenich and Kelsey VanDerWeele each had two hits in the victory over the Goslings. Ellie Enghofer hit a solo home run down the right field line in the top of the seventh inning.

Kessenich was the winning pitcher against Waukesha West. She outdueled Wolverines' pitcher Jenny Drewicz. Alexis Vanstone scored twice in the sectional final for the Warhawks.

Don't take the green for granted!

May 29, 2008 11:49 a.m. | I love this time of year - green just appears before our eyes.  It's also the time of year that I go to a random state park and purchase my annual sticker.  They're $25 for residents, and is probably some of the best spent money every year.

That sticker is your ticket to some of the best parks in the nation.  I often pack the family up on a hot weekend and head up to Pike Lake for a day of swimming and lounging around.  I am struck by the natural beauty that surrounds me.

Back during my days exiled in Illinois, I realized that I took all the green in Wisconsin for granted.  I'd come back to Wisconsin to visit family, and be stunned at all the trees and fields and hills, and it made me miss the state I where I lived most of my life.

It's easy to take what we have around us for granted.  Take a day, get the family in the car, and pick a state park to drive to.  There are many near by.  Pick up a sticker, and you'll have unfettered access to lots of activities in unbelievable surroundings.

I promise that it will be well worth it! 

Don't Tell Me There Is No Media Bias II

May 29, 2008 10:54 a.m. | Once again Obama shows his ignorance or lack of intelligence and it gets no play in the press.  Dan Quayle must be spinning in his grave.  Oh, yeah, Quayle isn't dead yet.

On Memorial Day, Barack Obama made one of his famous speeches of "just words", in which he says "On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today — our sense of patriotism is particularly strong."

To see the video click here.

Apparently Barack is starring in his own version of "Day of the Living Dead".  Obama, what is Memorial Day for?

In the same speech of "just words", he talks about his uncle  "who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps."  The problem with this is that it was the Soviet troops that liberated Auschwitz and not the Americans.  Again, there is no mention of this in the media.  Also, since his mother was an only child, his campaign is trying to sell it as a great uncle.  Still nothing.

Kotlowski gets new position with KM district reassignments

May 29, 2008 9:56 a.m. | Kettle Moraine School District - The School District of Kettle Moraine has announced a reorganization of district work and responsibilities for the upcoming 2008-2009 school year.

Several staffing changes will occur that includes current high school principal Tanya Kotlowski who will next year serve at the district level as Director of Employee Services.

Current Associate Principal for the high school David Hay will step up to serve as the Interim Principal.

Brandon Kostolni, the current Manager of Computer Technology for the district, will become the new Director of Technology. 


Wisconsin's Senator Cracks the Whip

May 29, 2008 8:58 a.m. |  I see that Wisconsin's own flaky senator extraordinaire Russell "Rusty" Feingold has taken to advising the Pakistan government on their internal affairs.  I am sure they were eagerly listening to the sage advice from our senator. If not, he can show them how to enact goofy election reform perhaps banning turbans and beards 30 days before the election, or maybe he can show them how to get some mass transit set up.  Why is this man giving advice to the Pakistanis? When will he start representing Wisconsin? Can you name two bills he has sponsored that directly help this state.  And don't give me the election reform bill debacle - he and repubrocrat McCaine managed to screw up the election process even worse than it was. For some unknown reason Wisconsin voters have taken a pass on representation in the Senate. Feingold, who lives in his own alternate reality, or "nobody's senator" Herb Kohl who is, well, just there. Maybe we should just put the two senate seats up for sale to the highest bidder and use the cash to balance the state budget.

Web site unveils new feature

May 29, 2008 7:32 a.m. | LivingLakeCountry.com has a new feature, Community Forums, where readers can come to discuss issues and events that are important in their community.

There are message boards for every community and school covered by Lake Country and Mukwonago Publications, as well as for sports, entertainment and more. LivingLakeCountry.com staff will provide some topics for comment, but readers can pose their own question and begin their own thread.

To join the conversation go to http://community.livinglakecountry.com/forums, or look for the Featured Forum Question on the homepage.

The forums will add another dimension to LivingLakeCountry.com, the premier community Web site for Lake Country and the surrounding area. The site, which was recently named the Best Local News Site of its size in the nation by Suburban Newspapers of America, offers news content and photos from five newspapers, up-to-the-minute news coverage through Lake Country Watch, a slate of prolific Community Bloggers, and Your News and Your Photos, where readers can post their own news and pictures.

Delafield cemetery vandal fined

May 29, 2008 12:00 a.m. | One of three people accused of vandalizing the Tabernacle Cemetery in the Town of Delafield over Labor Day weekend was ordered May 27 to pay a fine of $2,550.

Daniel Minteer, 20, of Waukesha entered a guilty plea to a reduced misdemeanor charge of criminal damage to property. Minteer, along with Alisha M. Ford, 20, and Raquel C. Mayer, 19, both of Mukwonago, were initially charged with a felony criminal damage to property.

Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Lee S. Dreyfus also ordered Minteer to serve 45 days in jail, time he has already served, according to court records.

According to the criminal complaint, a Waukesha County Sheriff's Department deputy was sent to the cemetery located off Bryn Drive Sept. 3 to investigate a vandalism incident that included 21 gravestones being toppled or damaged. The incident occurred between 7:30 p.m. Sept. 2 and 7:30 a.m. Sept. 3.

Four gravestones were damaged, crosses were broken and flowers and American flags being pulled out or broken.

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Community Watch

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Lake Country Players present “The Diary of Anne Frank”: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3, Lake Country Playhouse, 221 E. Capitol Drive, Hartland. $13 - $18 (262) 367-4697, www.lakecountryplayhouse.net.

Cottonwood Wayside Nature and Education Center Grand Opening: 5-7 p.m. Oct. 4, Cottonwood Wayside Nature and Education Center, 901 Cottonwood Ave., Hartland. Features the new chimney which will be home to more than 1,000 displaced chimney swift birds. Event also includes face painting, nature scavenger hunt, games and more. Hot dogs, chips and soda will be available for purchase.

Indian Summer: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 3; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 4; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 5, Ashippun Town Hall, Highway P and Highway O, Ashippun. Buckskinner encampment, tepee tours,wigwams, Native American drummers and dancers, Highlanders Voyageur Camp plus Revolutionary, Civil and Spanish-American War camps. Free admission. (920) 474-4619 http://www.ashipppun.com.

Dark Carnival: 7-10:30 p.m. Oct. 4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25, 31, Enterprise Building, 212 Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc. Formerly Haunted High, exhibit features more than 70 volunteers creating 50 specters and zombies plus special effects, lighting and sounds. $15, $23 fast pass. Open 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 25 for kids 5-12 ($5) with lighted displays and treats along the way.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

All weekend happenings.