Sunday, August 29, 2010

They Are…

In my previous blog, “Who Are You? Who, Who, Who, Who?” I posted the pictures of ten that have made me smile at one time or another in my life. Please don’t read too much into the fact that they are all men. Jamie and Patty 4-Names instantly questioned the fact that there were no ladies in the group. I quickly brought up my blog titled, “Crushes”, dated June 26, 2009. This blog lists no less than 17 lovely lasses that have provided me many a smile over the years. Please feel free to read whatever you like into that!

As you recall, I didn’t include the names of these ten gentlemen: just a few minor hints. I challenged you to come up with their names. Several of you did well; coming up with four or five and Greg even nailed the one that I thought was the most difficult. Without further ado, it’s time to reveal just who these guys are.

1. Mark Brouhard was a seldom-used outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1980 to 1985. During their American League Championship season in 1982 he only had 108 at bats, with 4 homers and 10 RBI.

However in game 4 of the 1982 ALCS, he went 3 for 4, with a double, a homer, scored 4 runs with 3 RBI. And I was in the leftfield bleachers at rainy County Stadium cheering him on with Jimmy Gentile, Bill Meurer and Kevin Hoff. Thanks “Brou” for a great memory.

2. George Owens portrayed by Bob Uecker on the Mr. Belvedere sitcom. Many of you guessed Bob Uecker, but I wanted the character’s name. The six seasons of Mr. Belvedere ran from March 15, 1985 (1985-03-15) – July 8, 1990. Thanks “Ueck” for the laughs.

3. Omar Little is a character on the HBO drama The Wire, portrayed by Michael K. Williams. Omar is a renowned stick-up man who lives by a strict code and never deviates from his rules, foremost of which is that he never robs or menaces people who are not involved in ‘the game’. Omar, who is gay, is the only major character on the series that claims to make a point of not using profanity.

When testifying in court, attorney Maurice Levy called him a parasite who thrived on the drug trade, Omar then pointed out that Levy was essentially the same thing, saying “I got the shotgun, you got the brief case…all in the game though”. Without a doubt my favorite TV character of all time; no one even comes close. Thanks Omar for hours of enjoyment.

4. Robert De Niro portrayed catcher Bruce Pearson in the 1973 movie Bang The Drum Slowly. This one was fairly easy. This is my favorite sports movie. Thanks Robert for making me cry every time that I watch it.

5. Gino Cavallini played for Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues and Quebec Nordiques in the NHL before playing for the Milwaukee Admirals in the IHL. Cavallini was a “grinder” during his NHL days before joining the Admirals in the IHL. During his three seasons in the “I” he became a top scorer, scoring 248 points in 240 games. Thanks Gino for kicking the snot out of that ne’er do well from the Atlanta Knights that crosschecked you back in 1995.

6. Anthony Dellaventura is a former member of the NYPD turned private eye played by Danny Aiello in this 1997 TV series. Dellaventura rounds up a bunch of crackerjack crime fighters to right wrongs that are beyond the reach of the criminal justice system. Alas, it only lasted one short season.

However, before the series ended it did provide me with a memorable quote. “I'm going to interview Danny, and then me and Dellaventura are going to go beat up some punks.”
- David Letterman. Thanks Dellaventura for making TV a safer place on Monday nights in 1997.

7. Gary Taylor is a British strongman from Wales who won the World Strongest Man competition in 1993. Taylor is a physical education instructor in the prison service and although he is as tough as they come, with his pleasant disposition and rugged involvement, he is very popular in strength circles, where he is usually very polite and humorous. Thanks Gary for carrying and lifting crazy-heavy things better than anyone else in 1993.

8. Ken Ober hosted the MTV game show Remote Control from 1987 to 1989. This wacky TV show also provided us with Colin Quinn and Adam Sandler. Ober died at his home in Santa Monica on November 15, 2009, at the age of 52. Thanks Ken for hosting a game show with a great opening theme song:
“Kenny wasn't like the other kids (Remote Control)

TV mattered, nothing else did (Remote Control)

Girls said yes, but he said no (Remote Control)

Now he's got his own game show (Remote Control!)”
9. Kevin Hunt is Sports Director currently at KPNX in Phoenix, he was formerly of Today’s TMJ4. Hunt was always entertaining while delivering the sports on TMJ4, never taking anything too seriously, including himself. Thanks Kevin for being way funnier than any of the mopes on ESPN, you are missed.

10. Gene Oborny is a former priest at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, currently the administrator of CedarWood Christian Academy in Aurora Colorado. I thought that only Alaskan Karen would get this one. You see, we were both in “Father Gene’s” youth group at St. Mary’s back in the ‘70s. Greg, who was also in the youth group, knew that it was Oborny in the picture. I had completely forgotten that Greg was in the group and for that I apologize to him.

One thing that I will never apologize for is having known Gene Oborny and having been a part of his youth group. This man taught me more about the Bible and faith in God then anyone else in my life. More than 35 years later, I still have the small New Testament that he gave me. It is barely held together with masking tape. But I will treasure it and everything that he has taught me forever. Thank you Gene most of all.

That’s it. Until next time…from the booth.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Who Are You? Who, Who, Who, Who?

Because my blog “Why Do They Make Me Grumpy?” was of such a negative nature, I have decided to be a bit more positive. Believe it or not, there are people that make me happy. Today I have pictures of ten folks that have made me smile at one time or another. That’s pretty encouraging, huh? No Negative Nancy today! Plus, as an added bonus, I will get to see just how smart you are. You will notice that I have purposely omitted the names of these wonderful people. It’s your job to tell me who they are. They will be easy at first and will get tougher as you go on. I would be shocked if anyone gets the last one. Here you go:

1. Who is he? Hint: Look at the picture!

2. Who is he? Hint: TV Character. (I want the character's name)

3. Who is he? Hint: My favorite TV character of all time.

4. Who is he? Hint: Movies. Extra Credit for character's name.

5. Who is he? Hint: I became a fan of his after his NHL career.

6. Who is he? Hint: TV Character.

7. Who is he? Hint: International Sports.

8. Who is he? Hint: TV Host.

9. Who is he? Hint: TV and Sports.

10. Who is he? Hint: He taught me things that were so important that they have stayed with me all my life.

Not too hard, huh? I don’t think anyone will get them all. Number 10 goes back to my high school days. Cousin Susie or Alaskan Karen might be able to get it. You can message your answers to me on facebook or shoot me an email at Good luck! Until next time…from the booth.

Friday, August 20, 2010

More Kenosha Softball

As some of you may know, I am embarking on another book project. Sorry ladies, it’s not a cookbook full of Italian recipes. It is going to be a follow-up to my first book, “Some Kenosha Softball”. The title of book two will be “More Kenosha Softball”. Like its predecessor, it will include some history, teams, images and tales. It will also feature a section dedicated to the new Kenosha Softball Hall of Fame. As with the first book, I will need some help with both the teams and images sections.

During the July book signing of "Some Kenosha Softball", I received many comments like, “why isn’t my team in your book?” or “why don’t you have had a picture of so and so in your book.” The answer to both questions is the same – YOU DIDN”T RESPOND WHEN I WAS ASKING FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS!

Book two offers you a chance for redemption. Once again I am looking for team information. Team name, sponsors, manager, roster, photos, accomplishments, etc. Here is a preliminary list of teams that I would like to include:

Finney’s Lounge
Finney’s Bears
Finney’s Goons
The 5th Amendment
Ken and Babe’s
Beñe Placito
Fon Tan Blu
John’s Country Club
Rumor’s Lounge
Schmitt Brother’s
Sorensen’s Mfg.
Super Sports
Wisconsin Beer Gardens
Pirate’s Den
Stanich Reality

If you know how to get a hold of any of these teams, please let me know. If you want your team included or know of any other teams that would like to be represented, please let me know. My email address is:

I plan on having “More Kenosha Softball” available in time for next years Rotary Club Tournament. In order to do so, I have to follow a somewhat rigid timeline. I will need team information and photos no later than November.

You might be wondering why I am asking for this in August if I don’t need it until November. That is because I am dealing with Kenosha softball players. They procrastinate as well as they play softball. I know from experience.

There will be a second book signing sometime in November. This will serve two purposes. One, it will give you an opportunity to pick up another autographed copy of “Some Kenosha Softball” (they make great stocking stuffers!). And just as important, it will allow me to collect this valuable information that I need.

Speaking of “Some Kenosha Softball”, it is now available at the Kenosha History Center as well as at Sister Act Painting and Creative Treasures. Here is the information for both outlets:

Sister Act Painting and Creative Treasures
3816 Roosevelt Road
Kenosha, WI 53142
Phone: 262-308-4395

Monday 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Wednesday – Friday 11:00 to 4:00 PM
Saturday 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Closed Sunday and Tuesday

Kenosha History Center
220 51st Place

Kenosha, WI 53140
Phone: 262-654-5770


Tuesday – Friday 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Saturday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Sunday 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Closed Mondays and Holidays

If you want your team to be in the second book, please get me your information! And for crying out loud, pick up a copy of the first book! You don’t know what you’re missing! Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why Do They Make Me Grumpy?

Okay, enough of all that feel-good, girly recipe stuff. It’s time for me to complain and whine about things that annoy me. Today’s target? Media types that irritate me. A half dozen of them pop into my head right away. As I list them, I will attempt to explain why they rub me the wrong way. Maybe you can tell me why they get on my nerves. Or, perhaps you will tell me that I am all wet and don’t know what I’m talking about. As always, I am open to all comments and feedback.

Jenna Wolfe. Wolfe is a national correspondent for NBC’s Today, and the co-anchor of their Sunday edition. She occasionally fills-in as anchor on the weekday edition of the show, and had once substituted on the NBC Nightly News.

I am not quite sure why she gets on my nerves. But despite the fact that she is very easy on the eyes, she does. Maybe it’s because I get the sense that she thinks her shit don’t stink. Help me on this one.

Kelly Ripa. Since February 2001, Ripa has served as the co-host of Live with Regis and Kelly, along with Regis Philbin. Earlier in her career, Ripa played Hayley Vaughan Santos for 12 years on the soap opera All My Children.

Another good-looking female, but this time I know why she nauseates me. In fact I have 7 million reasons why. That’s right this obnoxious, no talent bum makes $7,000,000 for doing that insipid show. You noticed that I didn’t say, “Earn”.

Doug Russell. Russell is the host of The Doug and Mike Show weekday mornings from 5am-9am CDT on WSSP in Milwaukee. Russell joined WSSP in January 2007 after leaving Sporting News Radio.

I challenge someone to tell me why I should enjoy this guy’s work. His show with Mike Wickett is nothing short of a giggling, sophomoric frat party. Although I haven’t listened to it in months, I still see him occasionally on the TWC Sports 32 Roundtable show. One word comes to mind. Arrogance.

Len Kasper. Kasper is a play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Cubs (2005-present), teaming with Bob Brenly on WGN-TV, WCIU-TV, and Comcast SportsNet. His previous stints were with the Milwaukee Brewers (1999-2001) and Florida Marlins (2002-2004).

At first Kasper didn’t bother me too much. However, as time has gone by, he aggravates me more and more. Maybe I listen to too much sports talk radio, but for crying out loud, he shows up everywhere! Plus, his smarmy, “I’m so hip” demeanor makes me vomit in my mouth. But that’s just me. I could be wrong.

Brian Anderson. Anderson was named Milwaukee Brewers’ television play-by-play announcer on January 10, 2007 and is in his fifth season as a Major League broadcaster. For the past two years, Anderson has done play-by-play for the TBS network's coverage of the National League Division Series. In 2010, TBS named him as a play-by play replacement for Chip Caray on their MLB Sunday regular season broadcasts.

See, it’s not just Cub announcers that rub me the wrong way. Anderson is very smug and at times seems to be oblivious to what his partner, Bill Schroeder, is saying. Something else that drives me nuts is his inability to judge a fly ball. He gets excited and very animated every a ball gets even close to the warning track. Fortunately, his increasing TBS workload seems to indicate he has his eyes set on bigger and better things. I don’t think he will be in Milwaukee much longer.

Scott Steele. Steele is a meteorologist and part-time journalist for TODAY’S TMJ4 in Milwaukee since January 2007. He typically does the weather on the weekends in the evening, filling in during the week as needed.

I never thought that a meteorologist could be a diva, but Steele has proved me wrong. Ever since TMJ4 went HD and introduced the “Only HD 7-Day Forecast”, he has been doing his best Mikhail Baryshnikov, spinning his way out of the camera shot as the graphic is displayed. And if I hear him refer to Fon Du Lac as “Fondy” one more time…

Enough bitching and moaning. I don’t expect you to be familiar with all of these people, but let me know what you think about the ones you are familiar with. Let me know if you agree or if you think I am crazy. Please be gentle with me.

Just so this blog doesn’t seem totally negative, I would like to close it with my Top 5 Hottest Anchor/Reporters from TMJ4 of Milwaukee. Being a big fan of channel 4, these ladies make it soooo easy to watch the news.

1. Susan Kim
2. Diane Pathieu
3. Melissa McCrady
4. Melanie Stout
5. Lauren Leamancyzk

Remember, only four more weeks until the award-winning reality show Survivor kicks off its 21st season on its new night. I can’t wait. Until next time…from the booth.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Grandma’s Kitchen Round 2

Ask and you will receive. In my last blog I promised to post more of Grandma’s recipes if there was any interest. Well, there was. Mary Beth said that she would love to read my Grandma's Homemade Pasta Sauce recipe. Sharon C. wanted something sweet and Jamie wanted the recipe for Grandma’s ravioli. Here you go ladies:

Grandma 'Noni's Pasta Sauce©

3 lbs ground beef
1 ½ lbs chop suey pork (cut up)
1 chicken (quartered)
1-cup oil
I large garlic clove (chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
1 medium onion
4 whole cloves
¾ tbsp basil
1 tbsp parsley
¾ tbsp oreganosalt and pepper
4 – 15 oz cans tomato paste
4 quarts tomato juice
1 tbsp baking soda

Put oil in a pot and add chicken and brown. Remove chicken from pan, add pork and brown. Put ground beef into a separate pan and cook until dark and crispy (stir often).

Add ground beef, large chopped onion and tomato paste into pot with browned chicken and pork. Then add garlic and stir in completely. Add tomato juice and spices.

Take medium onion and make 4 slits in the side of it; stick cloves into slits. Put this onion in sauce (remove when sauce is done).

Cook sauce for 2 hours, stirring often (burns easily).

Note: If you have an old cookie sheet put it under the pot. This makes heat go around entire pot evenly.

When done remove chicken and onion with cloves. Then add baking soda. Put in containers and freeze.

Grandma 'Noni's Ravioli With Meat©

9 cups flour
1 ½ cups water
18 eggs (room temperature)

Mix eggs slightly in water. Create a well in the mound of flour. Add egg/water mixture to the well. Mix carefully. Knead into a smooth ball. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
Knead again and reshape. Slice into approximately 12 – 16 slices to fit pasta cutter machine.

Run slices through machine 3 times on #8 or until smooth. Flour strips to prevent sticking. Then run through at #5. Flour strips again and run through at #3.

Lay thin pasta strips down and add desired amount of ravioli meat. Cover with fold of dough, press out air, seal and cut.

Freeze individually on wax papered cookie sheet. When frozen, put in plastic freezer bags.

To cook: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook ravioli for 20 – 25 minutes.

Grandma 'Noni's Ravioli Meat Filling©

5 lbs ground beef
2 lbs ground pork or veal
1 boiled chicken (ground)
salt and pepper (to taste)
½ tsp cinnamon2 tsp crushed garlic
¼ tsp cloves
2 cups chicken broth
¾ cup breadcrumbs
½ to 1 cup Romano cheese (grated)
5 eggs
2 pkgs chopped spinach

Brown the meats with onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Drain well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Mixture should be rather moist.

Cover and refrigerate. Moisture will be absorbed. Makes enough filling for approximately 100 ravioli.

Grandma Working Her Culinary Magic

Grandma 'Noni's Lemon “Moist” Cake©

1 pkg lemon Jell-O
1 cup boiling water
4 eggs
¾ cup oil
1 pkg yellow cake mix (not pudding type)
dash of salt
2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup real lemon concentrate
whipping cream (optional)

Dissolve the Jell-O in a small bowl of boiling water. Let cool! Break eggs in a large bowl and beat lightly. Add oil and salt. Then add the cooled dissolved Jell-O. Add cake mix to mixture and beat with mixer for 2 minutes.

Pour into a 9” X 13” pan and bake at 350° for 30 to 45 minutes. When done, remove cake from oven and while still hot, pierce cake all over with a fork.

Mix together the powdered sugar and lemon juice concentrate. Pour over cake. The mixture will soak into the cake and form a glaze when cold. Cake need not be frosted. If desired, top with whipping cream when serving.

It should be noted that facebook friend Peter will be taking a crack at making Grandma’s cheese bread this evening. I can’t wait to hear how it turns out.

Enough girly stuff for now. It’s time to order a pizza and watch a couple of football games. And two or three baseball games. Until next time…from the booth.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back At Grandma’s Kitchen

In my blog titled “Survey Results Part 2” I disclosed what subjects you wanted me to blog about next. Some answers were amusing, but several of them did indeed spark ideas for future blogs. I have already used Randy and Judi’s suggestion to write more Koos oriented blogs when I wrote, “What’ll You Have”. Today’s blog should satisfy Mary Beth, Patty 4-Names and Auntie Janet all at the same time. Plus, Sharon C. will be pleased that it is not about Survivor!

In 1993 my cousins Susie and Annie put together a Vagnoni family cookbook titled, Back At Grandma’s Kitchen. The book is a collection of Grandma’s recipes along with those of my Mom (Milly), Auntie Janet, Auntie Joanne and Aunt Bonnie. In addition to all of the fantastic recipes, cousin Susie provided a wonderful family history. Before I share some of the recipes, here is some of what she wrote:

Ermalinda D’Angelo (a.k.a. Grandma) was born in a small town near Rome, Italy called Portia on July 25, 1904. She was the second born child of Joseph D’Angelo and Mary Perozzi-D’Angelo.

In 1906 the D’Angelo’s decided to make the big move to America, where they settled in Birmingham, Alabama. The family moved back to Italy for one year in 1912, returning to the United States in 1913 and settled in Kenosha, Wisconsin. That is where she met Enrico Vagnoni (a.k.a. Grandpa).

Grandpa came to the United States when he was 16 years old. He lived in Pennsylvania where he worked on the railroads. He entered the Army and served in World War I as an infantryman and was stationed in France. He later moved to Kenosha where he worked at Simmons Mattress Company.

Grandpa was the first in his neighborhood to own a car. This made him a real ladies man. Luckily for the Vagnoni family, Grandpa only made room in his car (and his heart) for Grandma. They married at Old Mount Carmel Church on September 6, 1924.

Shortly after the first child was born: Emil (1925). It wasn’t long and Helen (1927) was born, followed by John (1931), Joseph (1936) and David (1947).

The Vagnoni clan had reached a critical mass in 1965. At least twenty of us packed into Grandma’s house every Sunday to stuff ourselves with a wonderful meal.

Finally, a decision was made to buy a large, old cottage on Camp Lake. The house was christened “La Casa de Lago” {the house on the lake) and gave the family many years of wonderful memories. The most memorable being Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th anniversary on September 6, 1974.

Some of the Vagnoni family enjoying the first cooked meal at the “Cottage" at Camp Lake.

I would like to thank Susie for writing that. It brings back many beautiful memories. That is only a portion of what she wrote back in 1993. In March of 2009 I did a blog titled, “A Good Kind Of Sadness”. It chronicles some more Vagnoni family history at “La Casa de Lago”. Check it out; there are a few more pictures.

Now for the yummy part – some recipes!

Grandma 'Noni’s Cheese Bread©

½ cup warm water
2 packages dry yeast (Red Star Instant)
2 tbsp sugar
1-cup warm milk
1 egg
2 tbsp margarine (soft)
3 ½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
¾ cup Parmesan cheese

Mix together the yeast, sugar, warm water and warm milk (not hot). Add egg and margarine. Blend together in bowl and add flour, garlic salt, Italian seasoning and ½ cup Parmesan cheese.

Cover with damp cloth and let rise until it doubles in size. Make into two loaves and top with melted margarine and remaining Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 375° for 30 to 40 minutes.

Grandma 'Noni's Homemade Pasta©

9 cups flour
14 eggs

Make well in middle of flour. Add eggs and mix together. Sprinkle kneading surface with flour and knead dough until smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes). Rub a light film of oil on dough and cover with bowl. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

This dough can be used for any kind of pasta you desire. You can use a pasta machine or roll it out and cut it by hand.

Grandma 'Noni's Ricotta Biscotti©

2 sticks soft oleo (or 1 cup shortening)
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 lb ricotta cheese
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
1 tsp almond flavoring
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
I tsp salt
Powdered sugar

Cream together oleo, sugar and eggs. Then add ricotta, vanilla and almond flavoring. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and add to mixture. Mix well.

Form into balls about the size of a walnut. Dough will be sticky, flour your hands to roll into balls. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 375° for 12 to 15 minutes.

Frost with powdered sugar icing.

Okay, that’s enough recipes for today. If you want, I can shoot out a few more from time to time. That’s only if you enjoy things like raviolis, gnocchi, pasta sauce and maple nut chiffon cake. Let me know.

Hopefully this blog took care of Mary Beth and Patty 4-Names’ desire for a blog about food. I am pretty sure that Auntie Janet will smile when she reads it; cousin Susie just happens to be her daughter. How’s that for family?

Now that I think of it, I honored one other request with this blog. Julie asked that I write, “Whatever your heart tells you to blog about.” Thanks for the suggestion Julie. Until next time…from the booth.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shakin’ It Up

Anyone know where I can get a stylish pair of sunglasses that will fit on my rather large melon? I think that I had better invest in a pair now that I am a “TV personality”. That’s right, not only have I recently become an author, I am now about to appear on TV. Thanks to my book, “Some Kenosha Softball”, I will be appearing on Dennis Shook’s show, Shakin’ Up Kenosha.

Last Sunday afternoon, my good friend Jimmy Gentile called me up to inform me that he had run into Dennis at the YMCA. Evidently Dennis saw my book in the Kenosha Public Library and checked it out, read it and loved it. When he saw Jimmy at the "Y" he asked him if he thought I would be interested in coming on his show. Jimmy said he wasn’t sure but he would call and ask.

At first I was a flattered, but then I started having some concerns. After all, I am a man of size and my face is better suited for radio. Reluctantly I told Jimmy it was okay to give Dennis my number and I would discuss it with him.

Dennis called later that evening and after much consternation on my part, I agreed to appear on Shakin’ Up Kenosha.

We taped the 30-minute show yesterday at the Kenosha Media Center located at 1403 Washington Road, inside the Time Warner Cable building. I arrived at 2:05 and was getting back into my truck at 3:00.

We discussed my book and Kenosha softball in general. I was allowed to make several shameless plugs for my book as we discussed the good old days. It was a lot of fun and despite my earlier trepidation I really enjoyed myself.

Dennis is an excellent host and his years of experience really showed. It seemed like we were just getting started when the words, “that’s a wrap” were coming out of the production booth.

The show will air Monday night at 7:00 and Saturday afternoon at 2:00 on Time Warner Cable channel 14. Dennis said that it would air for the next couple weeks at those times.

I want to thank Dennis for not only having me on his fine show. I would also like to thank him for purchasing two copies of my book, one for himself and the other for Butch Stella.

If you haven’t purchased a copy yet and would like to, there are several ways to do so. If you live in Kenosha, the easiest way would be to go to Sister Act Painting and Creative Treasures located at 3816 Roosevelt Road right next to Clay’s Tap. The hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday thru Friday and 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday.

If you live outside of Kenosha there are a couple of ways to get your hands on my book. One is email me at and I will get back to you with the details. The other way is to use the link to Blurb located on the right side of the page. Either way will work, but I will ship it Priority Mail for $2.00 less and you will get it much quicker. Plus I will personally sign it!

That’s it for now; I need to go buy some sunglasses. Until next time…from the booth.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What’ll You Have?

In 1975 it was legal to purchase and consume alcohol at the age of 18 in the state of Wisconsin. And that’s exactly what I did, usually in the form of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. The truth be told, I was consuming alcoholic beverages before the legal age of 18. Remind me to tell you sometime about the time I got Dad’s yellow 1970 Rebel stuck on the railroad tracks across from St. George’s Cemetery on a cold winter night in 1975. But today’s blog deals with the warm summer of that same year and involves the infamous Arno Schubert.

Arno first graced this blog in “My First Labor Day”. After that he also showed up in “Arno: A Koos Legend”, “A Koos Christmas Story”, “A Special Secret Weapon” and “Attack Of The Chainsaw”. If you haven’t read these entertaining blogs, I encourage you to take the time to do so. They will help you to appreciate this enigmatic man named Arno.

Now back to the summer of 1975.

I had been working at Koos Inc. for a couple of months when I finally felt comfortable enough to tell my co-workers where I lived. Keep in mind, this was the first time I was exposed to wild characters like Virgil Tucker, Ziggy Gutowski and of course, Arno Schubert. So, you can understand my reluctance in revealing such personal information.

When I first mentioned that I lived off of Highway C in Pleasant Prairie, just down the road from the Nobby Lobby, my worst fears were realized. The words had barely left my lips before Danny Fliess blurted out, “No shit Puddles. Arno lives right by you!”

Great, I thought to myself, that’s all I need. And I was right. As soon as that crusty old German discovered where I lived he was hitting me up for a ride home. So, for the rest of that summer I gave that foul-mouthed curmudgeon a lift home. Each and every miserable night.

At first the 15-minute trips were fairly uneventful. A typical drive home consisted of me continually turning the volume of the radio up in an attempt to drown out Arno’s incessant cursing. I’m not sure if he ever even noticed.

Then it happened. After a particularly hot day, Arno climbed into my car and announced that he was going to start compensating me for giving him a ride home. I am quite sure he didn’t use the word compensate, but you get the idea.

All right! I wondered how much he was going to give me. Five bucks would be nice. Ten would be even better. Well, it wasn’t ten and it wasn’t even five. Nope.

The compensation came in the form of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

As soon as I had turned on to Washington Road, Arno instructed me to turn into Staral’s parking lot. Staral’s was a small neighborhood bar located right behind Big Star’s parking lot.

As I pulled in, I quickly informed him that I had no intention of sitting in a bar stinking of fertilizer. He promptly told me to shut the f*ck up and jumped out and ran inside. Moments later he appeared with a brown paper bag and a toothless grin going from ear to ear.

While I pulled back onto Washington Road, Arno reached into the bag and produced an ice-cold bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. I shrugged my shoulders and accepted the payment for my transportation services. Arno, still grinning, removed a bottle for himself, cracked it open and started gulping it down.

At least he wasn’t swearing. If there was one thing that Arno enjoyed more than swearing, it was drinking beer. And I enjoyed the quiet. The beer wasn’t bad either.

By the time we turned onto Highway HH we had finished the six-pack. It was at this point that Arno gathered up the empty beer bottles and began to hurl them out the window into the ditch by the cornfield.

It didn’t last forever, a couple of months I think. But every night for those two or three months we stopped at Staral’s so Arno could buy that six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon for the ride home. And every night he tossed the empties out the window into that ditch by the cornfield.

There must have been close to 400 bottles in that ditch before I finally stopped giving Arno a ride home.

I know, not only was I drinking while driving, Arno was littering as well. What can I say, I was young and dumb and Arno was…well, Arno was Arno.

That was 35 years ago. For the next ten years I continued to consume Pabst Blue Ribbon on a regular basis. Sometimes on a “more than” regular basis.

However, on August 4, 1985 that all came to an end. I was in the booth announcing a Morning League game at historic Finney’s West when I decided that I had had enough. And I haven’t touched a drop since then.

Happy 35th Anniversary to you Arno Schubert, wherever you are. More importantly, Happy 25th Anniversary to me. Until next time…from the booth.