Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Conjuring

Conjuring poster.jpgI typically don't do scary movies. It's not that I can't handle them, but rather that I just prefer not to have those ideas bouncing around in my head. I reluctantly agreed to go see The Conjuring at Marcus Cinemas last night and I was anxious heading into it. It turned out to be more of a psychological thriller than anything, which I'm much more agreeable to. Gore and slasher films? Not so much. But The Conjuring was well acted with people that I actually recognized (Vera Farmiga is very good as Lorraine Warren, and who doesn't love Ron Livingston?). I think the fact that the studio took the time to actually invest in a quality movie made it not only that much scarier, but helped produce a higher quality finished product. And the best part? I slept soundly through the night afterwards. I'm not going to be rushing to the theatres to see another scary movie any time soon, but if you're looking for something that will keep you on the edge of your seat, The Conjuring is definitely that movie.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Good-faith gesture

The Milwaukee Brewers have had an unfortunate month of July. Not only has the club fallen to 18 games below .500, but the Brewers have had to deal with the fallout stemming from the suspension of the face of their franchise, Ryan Braun.
On Monday, the Brewers' head honcho, chairman and principal owner Mark Attanasio, announced that any fan that passes through the Miller Park gates will receive a $10 voucher to use on nearly anything in the park. According to the press release, the only places in the park where the vouchers will not be accepted are at the corporate-backed venues such as Friday's Front Row, the Johnson Controls Stadium Club, the Miller Park Suites, as well as all-inclusive entertainment areas and portable merchandise stands.
It is a gesture of goodwill that will mount financially for the small-market club, which falls under the umbrella of a larger "Fans First" campaign. The Brewers have 12 home dates in the month of August and that same press release expects 30,000 per game in August, Milwaukee will dole out upwards of $3.5 million worth of free vouchers.
Brewers Fans Eat Free 2013
“This has been a challenging season for all of us, but the one thing that has never wavered has been the tremendous support we have received from fans who love the Brewers,” Attanasio said through the release.
“We wanted to do something meaningful to show our appreciation, and we will strive to provide the best fan experience possible.”
The 65-game suspension handed down to Braun comes without pay, meaning the Brewers will save approximately $3.4 million over the course of the 2013. It appears that that Attanasio and the Milwaukee club had that figure in mind when developing a way to give back to the fan base, and found a way to do so in an unprecedented manner.
The Brewers needed to act quickly to try to help repair the additional damages that the suspension had on the reputation of the club, and handing out a $10 voucher to each fan is certainly a meaningful gesture. Fans will be able to read through the lines and know why they are receiving the vouchers, but they will likely go a long way to help keeping fans in the stands for the remainder of the season.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Rodgers and Braun

Probably even more than Ryan Braun himself, the state of Wisconsin has been waiting to hear from one of his best buds, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers about Braun’s being suspended for the final 65 games of the 2013 season.
Braun has said that he will speak when it is “legally allowable” and given the severity of the issue, that’s understandable. Rodgers is facing no such legal restrictions, and shared his thoughts when asked at the Packers’ first training camp session on Friday.According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, this is what Rodgers had to say on Braun:

"I’m just shocked. Disappointed. It doesn’t feel great being lied to like that and I’m disappointed about the way it all went down. He looked me in the eye on multiple occasions and repeatedly denied these allegations and said they were not true.”
Rodgers and Braun, two of the most high profile residents the state of Wisconsin has to offer, have been friends since 2009, and more recently, business partners at 8 Twelve MVP Grill.
The Packers’ quarterback came to the defense of the Brewers’ left fielder after he tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in 2011. Rodgers spoke out both on Twitter and on the radio in Milwaukee.
“I am just trusting that my good friend has not been using anything that’s illegal, and I’m very confident that is the case, because I know how much he cares about the integrity of the game and wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that,” Rodgers said in 2011 to ESPN Milwaukee.
But Friday, Rodgers was asked if he would change anything he said in support of Braun.
Said Rodgers: “I don’t regret backing a friend up. Obviously, in hindsight a more measured approach would be a better course. I definitely believe in forgiveness and moving forward. He has a tough task in front of him moving forward with his career, on and off the field.”
It likely won’t be the last that is heard from Rodgers on the situation, but props to the quarterback for standing up to the questions and not pulling any punches.

 Read more here: http://www.midwestsportsfans.com/2013/07/aaron-rodgers-shocked-and-disappointed-in-ryan-braun

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Best Wisconsin tailgate?

Which tailgate scene is the best?

Is it in Madison, for Badgers football games at Camp Randall?

Perhaps for one of the 81 Brewers games at Miller Park?

Or is it in the cold and snow at Lambeau Field?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


This guy is unapologetically Canadian. Or perhaps extra-apologetically Canadian. Either way, I love him. Here's an account of what he did, according to Deadspin and the Windsor Star:

John Morillo, a 47-year-old Canadian man, apologized today for causing an international incident last night when he drank eight beers and then swam across the Detroit River, just to prove to his friends he could.
Speaking to the Windsor Star after being released from jail this morning, Morillo said in retrospect it was "really stupid" of him to drunkenly swim across the river, but not without adding that he wanted his incredulous buddies to know he'd pulled it off (emphasis ours):
If I’m going to be in the paper, I’d at least like them to say I actually made it, even though I got in trouble and everything. I gotta pay fines and stuff. But I don’t want it to sound like I didn’t make it, because then my buddies are going to say 'ha, ha, you didn’t make it.' Because that was the whole thing, to show them I could do it.

Canadian Man Sorry for Chugging Eight Beers and Swimming to Detroit

I'll make sure to let people know you made it, John.

The best part of the article may be one of the comments, where a guy thinks that John  should get his one reality show. Says "Dave J" - "Give him his own show, something like "8 Beers And I'll Do WHAT?" where every week he drinks 8 beers and then accepts some random challenge from viewers."

I'd watch that.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My thoughts on Ryan Braun

I won’t mince words here: Ryan Braun is a cheater. Ryan Braun is a liar. It’s a day that Milwaukee Brewers fans hoped would never come, but knew would.
Ryan Braun

Braun, the Brewers’ star left fielder, was suspended by Major League Baseball for the rest of the regular season, a verdict that conceivably could have happened any time over the past 19 months.
It’s clear that Major League Baseball is trying to clean up the game, and using Ryan Braun as an example. And rightfully so. There are still many questions to be answered, but the big question – Did Braun use some sort of performing-enhancing drug? – has an answer, and it’s one that Braun is no longer denying.
If Braun truly didn’t cheat, he should have continued to adamantly deny any use of anything illegal. His acceptance of the suspension is damning evidence and casts a shadow on the denials that Braun has made since he was first accused on Dec. 10, 2011.
Here’s what Braun had to say about Monday’s suspension:
As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organizations. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.
For fans in Milwaukee, the suspension is palatable from a baseball perspective. All things considered, it comes at a tolerable time for the organization, as the Brewers sit 15 games under .500 at 41-56 as of July 22, 2013.
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel beat writer Tom Haudricourt referred to Milwaukee as “the last bastion of support” for Braun in this case, and while that is true, I don’t see that necessarily turning a 180 and pitting fans against Braun.
Again, the reality is there: Braun is a cheater and a liar. But Milwaukee isn’t going to give up on him.
As a die-hard Brewers fan, it’s unfortunate to see Braun suspended but in all reality, it was a long time coming. We’ve watched him break onto the scene in 2006 and turn into one of the game’s best hitters. His numbers have been astounding, but perhaps not as much as his impact on a small market. I don’t see him as a complete and total fraud, as I think he is a byproduct of a dirty game, but it does put an official damper on the purity of the playoff runs in 2008 and 2011.
This current season is essentially a lost cause. The 65 games that Milwaukee will be Braun-less aren’t necessarily going to open a door for some hot young prospect to get more playing time, but it will likely make the front office go further into sell mode and consider deals for the likes of Norichika Aoki, Corey Hart and Yovani Gallardo.
While the questions of what exactly Braun did need to be answered, the question remains as to how the Milwaukee fans will accept him come Opening Day 2014. He needs to remain contrite and apologetic, take ownership of his transgressions, and say all the right things necessary to ensure that he and the organization are in a position to contend next season.
I don’t see the Brewers faithful booing him, as he’s still “our guy” – cheater or not. He won’t officially don a Milwaukee uniform until spring of 2014, and I think the nine months between now and then will serve as an adequate punishment for Braun to the fans that have been his supporters since day one.

I hope she got her point across

A woman, on her horse, was denied service at a McDonald's drive-thru in London. It's pretty standard that you have to take a car through the drive thru, but when the lady was refused, she took the next step. She brought her horse inside.

McDonald's, Horse, Twit Pic

Then, the horse did what horses are bound to do.

View image on Twitter

According to the local police department's facebook page:  "The sight and smell of this caused obvious distress and upset to customers trying to eat, as well as staff members. Officers arrived at the location and woman was issued a Fixed Penalty notice for causing alarm & distress to other customers and staff."

So yeah. At least this wasn't in America!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Superman/Batman mash-up?

I'm a big fan of superhero movies. I know that's not all that crazy of a statement, but there's a safe bet that if one comes out, I'm gonna go see it. (I made an exception for the Green Hornet. It looked terrible.) The newest Batman trilogy might be my favorite trio of movies of all time (Sorry, Star Wars), and even though I thought it came to an appropriate end with SPOILER ALERT Bruce and Selina whisked away to France or Italy or wherever, I wouldn't mind seeing a little more. Well, enter this news.

Yeah. That's right. Superman and Batman. In one movie. Read more about it here: http://insidemovies.ew.com/2013/07/20/dc-warner-bros-comic-con-superman-batman/

Friday, July 19, 2013

You don't need this, but...

I kinda lose out on this conversation a little bit as I am a renter and don't have a lawn to mow, but that doesn't mean I can't ogle this beautiful machine. Honda Motor Co. has unveiled it's new mean mower that the company claims can top out at 130 miles per hour, while still cutting the lawn underneath it. It's incredibly unnecessary for a lawn mower to go that fast, but if the technology is there, WHY NOT?

In case you were wondering, Honda has said that in testing,  the mower has exceeded 100 mph on the race track. The current lawn mower land speed record is 96.5 mph, which is claimed by Bobby Cleveland of the U.S. firm Gold Eagle in September 2010.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Jaw dropping.

I played against former Wisconsin Badger and current Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt in basketball in high school. Granted, his team whooped up on mine, but at no point did I think he was going to become the freak of nature he is today. Holey. Moley.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fair or Foul?

I haven't read the article yet, but the picture on the cover says a thousand words. Rolling Stone puts Dzhohkar Tsarnaev on the cover on its most recent issue. I get that the story might be captivating, but is the cover going too far?

The story was written by Rolling Stone's Janet Reitman, who, according to the magazine, "spent the last two months interviewing dozens of sources – childhood and high school friends, teachers, neighbors and law enforcement agents, many of whom spoke for the first time about the case – to deliver a riveting and heartbreaking account of how a charming kid with a bright future became a monster."

I think it has all the makings of a fantastic feature piece for the magazine. But putting the picture of someone who allegedly helped kill people and disturb the peace forever in the city of Boston on the cover? Might be a step too far.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Delusional people are the best

I didn't get a chance to see the Home Run Derby live last night as I was fulfilling my duties at the Loggers games, but I did see the highlights when I got home. I was left with one lasting impression: there's a lot of power in today's youth movement. Yoenis Cespedes and Bryce Harper can mash home runs with the best of them, and have as much power as some of the all-time greats. Whether that translates into big in-season home run totals is still to be seen, but the power in baseball is in good hands.

And then there's Jose Canseco, who feels the need to inject himself into any and all baseball conversations. Apparently the (disgraced) slugger feels that he can still compete with the best of them at age 49. Here's what he had to say on twitter last night.

I think he's delusional to think he could legitimately still compete with the best hitters in the game today. But then again, it'd make for great television and I'd definitely watch.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The one bad part of the Coulee Region

There are hundreds of reasons to be a big fan of the Coulee Region. From festivals to a scenic view no matter where you turn, there's a reason that I, like many others, am proud to call this place home.

But if there's one thing I could do without, it'd be this.

Gross. If at all possible, I try to be out of town when these little nasties hatch. I know they're harmless (or at least I think they are?) but that doesn't make them any less disgusting. I was in Dubuque over the weekend and they were out in droves on that stretch of the Mississippi. If you don't have them yet, they'll be here this week. Brace for them.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


This has the possibility of being the worst hour in the history of television. But it's got Tara Reid, who is clearly desperate for a paycheck.

This is an excerpt from a review from the Washington Post, which I might add, is a very prominent newspaper.
 The premise? Tornadoes suck sharks out of the Pacific Ocean before unleashing them over Los Angeles, terrorizing the city. Seriously.

I just might have to watch. After I figure out what channel SyFy is.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Uh Oh

I love eating challenges as much as the next guy, but letting the players compete in the middle of a baseball game? Maybe not the best idea. Here's the story from the Toronto Sun:

Brian Read
Most entertainment at baseball games is harmless, things like giveaways, kids running the bases, renditions of Take Me Out to the Ball Game.
What about a hot dog-eating competition involving the players?
That's just asking for trouble. A notion Brian Read, a 19-year-old pitcher for the Seacoast Mavericks, can attest.
After all, he had to get a hot dog surgically removed from his esophagus Monday because an in-game eating contest went awry.
During the seventh-inning stretch at his Futures Collegiate Baseball League game Sunday, Read and his teammates competed to see who could eat a hot dog and bun the quickest.
Read finished last and then vomited.
"I started swallowing really prematurely," Read told SeacoastOnline.com. "I didn't chew my food very well."
For most of Monday, he couldn't hold down food or drink. So, naturally, he went to the hospital.
Read, a sophomore player at Jefferson University in Mississippi, said it felt like a "brick" was inside him.
He was close: it turns out the doctors found a 1.5-inch-long piece of hot dog stuck sideways.
When he sat down to indulge in his first meal post-accident -- not a hot dog but a cheeseburger -- Read made sure he had a game plan.
"I was taking the smallest bites and chewing it to a ground pulp," he said.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

This Is The End

In an effort to get out of the humidity yesterday, I visited Marcus Theatres last night to see a movie I had been long awaiting to see - This Is The End. As the movie progressed, I forgot that the plot was an apocalypse movie so I was a bit startled to see that happening. But the movie is very different in that all of the characters just play slightly fictionalized versions of themselves and according to IMDB, 50 percent of the movie is ad libbed. The main cast members - Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill - are all so naturally funny, and all friends in real life, that it feels like the banter is all real and not scripted at all. The movie was probably a whole lot funnier for the actors in the film - and as a result, difficult to film - but it still translated hilariously to the audience. It doesn't crack the pantheon of the funniest movies I've ever seen, but if you're into a good laugh, I'd definitely recommend This Is The End.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dragon Boat racing

I had really no idea what to expect from the Big Blue Dragon  Boar races at Riverside Park this past weekend, but it turned out to be an awesome event. It took our team a little while to get the hang of things during qualifying, but once we got going, we were CRUISING. We shaved 13 seconds off of our qualifying time in our heat and actually ended up winning our bracket. Pretty impressive for a team of ragamuffins. Here's proof that we won! I'm wearing a green shirt and a grey baseball hat, if you can spot me, towards the back of the lead boat. Gary Michaels is at the front right of the boat here.

Photo: Great day for dragon boat races.

Here's a picture of our awesome team! Met some great people that really came together quickly in a great event. You can find more of the pictures that Anthony from Coulee Region Adventures took from the event at www.couleeregionphotography.com

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


It's only the halfway point of the season for the La Crosse Loggers, but with the way that things are set up in the Northwoods League, it's the biggest game of the season at the Lumberyard tonight. Tuesday night's game provided for an interesting prelude to tonight's contest, as Michael Katz provided the dramatic walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth inning. Katz roped the pitch into left center field, and it took a spectacular slide by Kevin Zak to evade the tag and give the Loggers the victory. Starting pitcher Ben Cejka battled tough for three innings, and then Bobby Juan - who left to a standing ovation and a "Bobby! Bobby!" chant-  and Jonathan Van Eaton threw six scoreless innings to keep the Madison Mallards at bay. Johnny Bekakis, who has kind of developed a flair for the dramatic this season, hit a shot - a game tying home run - in the bottom of the fifth inning, and from there on out it was a defensive dual. Bekakis and Mike Nadratowski had a slew of great defensive plays in the outfield, but it was Nadratowski that was robbed on a highlight-reel circus catch by Mallards centerfielder Luke Meeteer on a potential go-ahead hit in the eighth inning. Drama all around at the Lumberyard last night, and I'm expecting another great one tonight. There were over 2,800 fans at Copeland Park last night, and the players really feed off that energy. A big crowd tonight could really help the Loggers onto victory tonight. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Heat

After spending a gorgeous afternoon on the golf course, I decided to hit up a movie with a couple of friends. It was their pick - The Heat - and while there were other movies in the theater I probably would have rather seen (This Is The End, Man of Steel, The Lone Rangers), I left the movie theatre pleasantly surprised with how much I liked the movie. The premise is like many other buddy cop movies - one is straight-laced, the other maybe a bit more improvisational with their methods - but this time it's with women as cops. Like how Bridesmaids was kind of like a female version of the Hangover, The Heat does this for the cop comedy genre. I'm not ashamed to say that I love Sandra Bullock, but like every movie that Sandy's co-star is in, Melissa McCarthy ends up stealing the show. It's easy to tell how naturally hilarious McCarthy is, with small little quips that are all over the movie and elevate it to a whole new level of comedy. The plot is so-so, but it doesn't matter too much. I had more than my fair share of laughs and would recommend it. Check out showtimes at www.marcustheatres.com.

Smartest Cities in America

Apparently a company by the name of Luminosity developed some criteria for naming the "Smartest Cities in the USA" and the list is kind of interesting.

According to an NBC report, Luminosity "came up with five different types of mind games that they feel determines a person's level of intellect. They then asked more than three million people between the ages of 15 and 85 years old to play at least one game from five different testing groups. The games were split into the categories of memory, flexibility, processing speed, attention and problem solving."

The top-10 has a very much Midwestern feel too it, centering around many different colleges such as Penn State, Purdue, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Kansas, all within the top 10. Wisconsin is well represented, with my hometown of Waukesha at 26 and the La Crosse/Onalaska suburban area coming in at 36. Appleton, Stevens Point and Sheboygan are also represented on the list, as well as the Twin Cities, Brainerd, St. Cloud and Rochester.

1. Ithaca, NY
2. State College, PA
3. Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN
4. Iowa City, IA
5. Ames, IA
6. Ann Arbor, MI
7. Bloomington, IN
8. Madison, WI
9. Lawrence, KS
10. Pullman, WA
11. College Station-Bryan, TX
12. Appleton, WI
13. Champaign-Urbana, IL
14. Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA
15. Charlottesville, VA
16. Boulder, CO
17. Provo-Orem, UT
18. Harrisonburg, VA
19. Rolla, MO
20. Houghton, MI
21. Muncie, IN
22. Corvallis, OR
23. Boone, NC
24. Logan, UT-ID
25. Stillwater, OK
26. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
27. Claremont-Lebanon, NH-VT
28. Lebanon, PA
29. Moscow, ID
30. Cedar Rapids, IA
31. Lincoln, NE
32. Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA
33. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
34. Starkville, MS
35. Athens, OH
36. La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN
37. Brainerd, MN
38. Burlington-South Burlington, VT
39. Fargo, ND-MN
40. Stevens Point, WI
41. Columbia, MO
42. St. Cloud, MN
43. Rochester, MN
44. Auburn-Opelika, AL
45. Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA
46. Oil City, PA
47. Fort Collins, CO
48. Sheboygan, WI
49. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
50. Keene, NH