Expensive jelly awaits fly-in visitors to the Werkes

(No, we will not comment on a certain CNN town hall)

We’re expecting special visitors at the Experimental Work Farm (and Penal Colony) today. Gaily colored and finely feathered visitors. Millions of them across Wisconsin, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel are expected this very day!

Birds that migrated thousands of miles from Central and South America. Fleeing hardship and seeking opportunity, no doubt, but here legally just the same! They were just in Missouri and Arkansas Thursday, according to a University of Wisconsin bird expert. Southwest Airlines, take note!

Promised you a better picture; here’s Mr. Oriole at dinner time

Orioles, ruby-throated hummingbirds, warblers and flycatchers coming to the Emerald City. The Werkes beat the bird professor’s timetable, thanks to a Birds Choice™️ oriole feeder we purchased for the princely sum of $55! The birdman at Wild Birds Unlimited in Middleton WI (he had a tiny beak) said the responsible birder must never stock the feeder with common breakfast jelly. Oh no! Corn fructose sweetener is bad for birds. Stock your new oriole feeder with all-natural BirdBerry Jelly™️, he advised. It is “a unique mixture of grape and blackberry.” At $7.49 for a 20-ounce squeeze jar, the Head Groundskeeper is squirting some on his breakfast toast!

Anyway, enough of the grousing (if you’ll pardon our pun). Within a half hour of stocking the Birds Choice™️ oriole feeder with the special jelly and two halves of a mandarin orange, a real-life oriole came to visit at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday 05-10-23!  That’s what we call results!

→ Saturday is World Migratory Bird Day

Blaska’s Bottom Line: Three humming bird feeders await their first hummer. We would like to see more bees and butterflies this year. It’s been at least a dozen years since bats enlivened our evenings. No longer use herbicides on the lawn. We keep Enzo the magnificent-cat indoors and planted plenty of pollinators, especially monarda. So it’s NOT OUR FAULT!

What are YOU expecting today?

Posted in Experimental Work Farm, Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Fast-tracking racial paranoia

That’s what progressive DEI hustlers are doing!

A great many Madison liberals got off the Woke crazy train when the University of Wisconsin-Madison loaded up that 42-ton glacial rock because it was accused of racism. Now that Old Fighting Bob La Follette is just another dead, cisgendered white man, The Capital Times is racing to keep up with BLM community organizers, the drag queen lobby, and Red Guard socialists. 

Instead of demanding the return to campus of the naturally occurring geology lesson and the reinstatement of NAACP hero Fredric March’s good name, my former newspaper employer is doubling down on diversity, equity, and inclusion (aka DEI). As with Pavlov’s dog, it’s a reflexive bow-wow against Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for demanding an end to $16 million worth of race hustling (as we first reported here). No, “the speaker and his colleagues should use the state’s massive budget surplus to steer more resources” to the task at hand, that being to rinse the racism from one troubled student — out of 44,640 enrolled on the Madison campus — who posted a vile message on social media. (See “Fragile flowers.“)

An ‘air of insensitivity’

Professor Hernandez

In the same edition today, the CT posts an op ed from “a faculty member of color at UW-Madison who teaches undergraduate students about racism, anti-blackness, and the ideology of white supremacy,” as Professor Anthony Hernandez describes his day job. The university brass who met with the campus BLM chapter, the professor indicts, “displayed an air of insensitivity.” (“UW needs to fast-track anti-racism efforts.”) An “air of insensitivity”! The Klan rides again!

Which is why the mainstream news media is playing the death of a black man on the New York City subway as another “I can’t breathe” at the hands of yet another probably racist white man. (Maybe one of Althea Bernstein’s “classic Wisconsin frat boys“?) Burn, Kenosha, burn!

At the National Review, author and professor Wilfred Reilly walks through the facts you won’t get elsewhere.

USA Today referred to the deceased Mr. Neely as a “beloved subway performer” who hailed from “a whole family of musicians.” The spin from CNN was that he was a “Michael Jackson impersonator” … performing unsolicited but charming dance numbers on the train.  …

In reality, the tragic struggle that killed Neely began when he went nuts on a subway car packed with riders, screaming violent threats: “I will hurt anyone on this train . . . I don’t mind going to jail and getting life in prison!” He was restrained by three men … including a black guy.

At the time of the fatal struggle, he had an active criminal warrant, earned for punching a 67-year-old grandmother, breaking her nose and fracturing her orbital bone. On another occasion … Neely tried to kidnap a small child. … There exists a decade-old Reddit thread … that consists of New York taxpayers documenting the subway crimes of Jordan Neely. The title? “Try to stay away from the Michael Jackson impersonator.” Simply put: Neely was seen as a disturbed and dangerous man — because he was.

In 2018, a not-atypical year, there were 547,948 violent black-on-white crimes versus only 59,778 white-on-black crimes. That’s out of well over 10 million total crimes, to be sure — but still a real-life ratio of 9.2 to 1.

“The false Jordan Neely narrative”

Blaska’s Bottom Line: Keep it up, Woke progressives, and you’ll turn Madison Republican yet!

Punch my grandmother, will you?!

Posted in Critical Race Theory / Identity politics, George Floyd riots, Progressives, Uncategorized | 34 Comments

Celebrating freedom & individuality at the Crud

Not just Old School but Out of School!

This old road warrior probably doesn’t know any better but he is feeling truly blessed these days. Crabapple trees in full blossom has something to do with it. Number One Son Max will be a good news feature in Wednesday’s Capital Times and the Lovely Lisa still makes the Old Guy great food.

This year’s semi-annual Slimey Crud (It’s even spelled incorrectly!) Sunday 05-07-23 was one of the best. The Crud is a totally disorganized gathering of all makes of two- and three-wheelersthe older, more obscure, and more decrepit, the better the bragging rights.

Perfect weather! Temps above 80° F, high skies, and maybe a record number of bikes. Riding partner Steve Witherspoon estimates north of a thousand. Steve Kellner led our threesome, the two Steves on newer Milwaukee 8 Harleys, Blaska on his 750cc V7-II Moto Guzzi, past road signs marked with squiggly arrows. We worked the back road twisties the long way through northern Iowa County and across the big river to the unincorporated hamlet of Leland WI in Sauk County. There, we enjoyed the passing parade from the deck at Schelter’s tavern, on the shore of the Honey Creek millpond.

But the first stop of every Crud is Pine Bluff, which sits at the intersection of County Hwy P and Mineral Point Road (County Hwy S) seven miles due west of Madison WI. Like Leland, Pine Bluff supports two taverns and one church and sits in farmed and wooded hill country. It was in Pine Bluff we found our cruddiest motorcycle. 

Not based on any actual motorcycle, it is totally sui generis — from the frame outward. Shown by a man who gave his name as Peter O’Gallagher from (fittingly) Erin WI, which is a little north and east of Oconomowoc in Washington County. Pretty country there, too.

Powered by a 3 hp, one-cylinder Milwaukee engine originally built for a gravel/asphalt compactor! (Probably rides like it, too!) A lantern for illumination, squeeze bulb horn, wooden-spoke wheels, and a sidecar made of timber that supports a leather sofa that might have been made during Abe Lincoln’s time. As a bonus, the tiny toolbox was secured with a heavy chain and a honking big padlock to protect its can of WD-40. This contraption must be brought to life via a hand crank like the old Tin Lizzies. No sign of any blue tooth, GPS screen, cruise control, traction control, or ABS. ( 🎶 Ain’t got no cigarettes! 🎵 )

Peter said he didn’t build it and this inept reporter neglected to ask who should take the blame but was told the evil genius is now deceased. Perhaps from riding his creation, one might speculate.

The runner-up ride really wasn’t cruddy but interesting and we didn’t think to photograph it. A motorcycle with what resembled a semi-enclosed chariot with no seat and a gate at the rear. No seat? Now we got it! For a wheelchair user!

Blaska’s Bottom Line: We can’t help but admire the enterprise and imagination that goes into these creations. A celebration of individuality and freedom of the road. Truly, if there were  a thousand motorcycles at the Spring 2023 Crud, no two were alike. 

Does that spell Ah-mur-i-ca! or what?

Posted in Motorcycles, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Much pomp and a crowning glory

Does the USA miss the mysticism of monarchy?

It is another character fault: The Head Groundskeeper is a monarchist. The Stately Manor’s b&w Philco broadcast all four hours of the coronation of King Charles v3.0 Saturday 05-06-23. Made America’s presidential inaugurations look like a drive-through at Mickie D’s.

The royals rode to venerable Westminster Abbey in a six-horse drawn, black and gold coach equipped with electronic ride leveling devices, air conditioning, and power windows. So the knowledgable BBC presenters told us via C-Span, uninterrupted. The parade featured something unknown on these shores: a marching band — on horseback! How does the guy who bangs the drums steer his horse? With stirrups connected to his feet!

On the way back, the newly crowneds rode the poorly suspended but spectacular Gold State Coach. It was built for George v3.0’s coronation in 1761 but not completed in time, probably due to supply-chain issues.

Those links to the past cement the future

The coronation ceremony — an initiation rite on a grand scale — was embedded into a Christian Mass officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury and lots of help. Although Charles v3.0 swore holy war on Catholic priests as part of the oath of office (required in 1701 after the Catholic James 2 was chased out of the country ), the new King thought to invite blessings from many faiths, including the Sikhs and the Catholic cardinal archbishop of England. Speaking of the Pope, Francis v1.0 gifted Charles v3.0  with two splinters of wood said to come from the miraculously inexhaustible True Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. They were encased  in the silver cross made for the event that led the coronation procession. Neat! 

The official Coronation website.

Random and irreverent thought: if the states were only now being colonized, two of them would be called North Camilla and South Camilla.

Lots of really old stuff!

The crown itself was crafted for the second Charles in 1661 after the first Charles felt the axe. The groundlings at Stately Blaska Manor were especially taken by the segment where the officiants handed Charles 3 a collection of old stuff. The PBS Antiques Road Show must have been green with envy! Each presented by a different officiant!

• A golden orb, first handed to the second Charles when the monarchy was restored after Oliver Cromwell.  Said to represent the earth itself.

• St. Augustine’s Gospel Book, scribed shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire.

• An 11th Century silver spoon to dollop holy oils in a top-secret anointing, which was done behind a screen. (Someone will relate the inside story in one of the British tabloids.)

• To hold the oil an ampulla that resembles a small, golden Maltese Falcon. The oil was harvested from the Mount of Olives (extra-virgin?).

• A huge white leather glove symbolizing the king as protector of the people. (Also suitable for outdoor grilling.) 

• Two swords; “bracelets of sincerity and wisdom;” two two scepters — one, a symbol of power and justice, another to symbolize equity and mercy; and a gold rod, signifying temporal power.

• Spurs made for King Charles version One in 1661 but a feature of coronations since Richard the Lionhearted in 1189; rings and other things.

The coronation chair first used by Edward 2 in 1308. Thirteen-oh-eight! The U.S. has mountain ranges that aren’t that old! Under the chair is the 336-pound Stone of Scone, used for centuries in the coronation of Scottish kings until King Ed One stole it. You could do that in those days.

And cool duds! More costume changes than a Broadway musical! which featured in the Coronation Services of King George IV in 1821, King George V in 1911, King George VI in 1937 and Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Apparel with their own unique names like “Colobium Sindonis,” the “Supertunica and Imperial Mantle.” Not a Nike swoop in sight!

Let there be music

A total of 192 microphones were placed throughout the ancient Abbey to record the 8 choirs and 8 orchestras for a commemorative music album recorded live on the spot. Some old: A Byzantine chant in Greek to honor Prince Philip; Bach, Strauss. Handel (for a piece first composed for George 2 in 1727); and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. Twelve new pieces written for the coronation (six orchestral, five choral and one on organ): Opera star Bryn Terfel singing Paul Mealor’s Coronation Kyrie Eleison — in Welsh; Andrew Lloyd Webber (“Make a Joyful Noise”); and black gospel performed by a quintet.

Far as we could observe, not a missed note or a false step. No one dropped any orbs or succumbed to St. Vitus’ Dance. Even Prince Harry behaved himself.

What Beatles song would have worked at the coronation?

Coordinating a thousand moving pieces

That’s what leaves our jaw slightly agape even these two days later. The two-hour service itself was complex enough. The parades, coming and going, featured 19 military bands, 4,000 sailors, soldiers, aviators, and marines in parade dress. From many nations. A flyover. Police cordoning off the crowds and subduing troublemakers. 

So much that was not visible Saturday. Tedious meetings to decide who among the 2,300 attendees sits where. (Prince Harry: “I must be in the front row.” Not!) Who gets on the invite list and who does not. Who is put on standby to fill no-show seats.

Someone had to make arrangements for all six living past prime ministers to arrive at the same time. (“Liz Truss? O.K., her, too.”) The courtiers who designed one-off dresses for Princess Charlotte and child and other leading ladies. The nameless functionary who saw to it that sufficient hotel rooms would be reserved for the likes of Macron, Trudeau, Mrs. Biden, and the black female bishop from Jamaica. The army of royal horse poop scoopers.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: All of which is to say, the British monarchy proved its worth Saturday. “The firm” engaged countless facets of the nation to knit together what our Abraham Lincoln called “the mystic chords of memory.” Instead of preparing for war, a nation remembered what was great, reverenced that which is lasting, celebrated the beautiful, and appealed to something greater than man — to the divine. The king’s crown of 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and 269 pearls, the Archbishop of Canterbury cautioned, is but an imitation of Christ’s crown of thorns.

The British constitutional monarchy is “above politics” — the coronation spoke of God and duty, service and sacrifice. The USA has nothing like that. Wish we did.

What royal family would YOU choose for the USA? 

(There are about 600 Habsburgs looking for a gig.
If you don’t like them, you can just shoot them like Mexico did.)

Posted in Harry and Meghan, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Eliminate UW diversity, equity, inclusion funding

Speaker Vos proposes reallocating DEI’s $16 million
to in-demand professions!

A statement from Republican WI Assembly Speaker Robin Vos:

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate majority leader Devin LeMahieu

“Currently, the University of Wisconsin System spends about $16 million annually on 226 positions related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), with 74 of the positions concentrated at UW-Madison. UW-Eau Claire and UW-Whitewater are both second with 34 positions each.

I’ve called for eliminating funding for these positions as our universities have gone from being institutions of higher learning to institutions of indoctrination. The offices are teaching students to view the world entirely through the lens of race, which only grows the racial divide.

Universities have gone from teaching to indoctrination.

→ “It’s DEI or die for campus free speech.”

“Anecdotally I have heard from people who have had to fill out DEI statements to apply for a UW job and graduate students who have had to admit to their white privilege. This is preposterous!

If the UW System wants more funding, they need to show they can prioritize their basic functions of educating our students, especially those in high-demand fields like nursing and engineering. They can show they’re serious by reallocating the DEI funding to these places.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: This reform will eventually improve our kids’ schools by breaking education’s obsession with race and identity. Tell Speaker Vos you support defunding DEI!

Will wonders never cease?

Posted in Critical Race Theory / Identity politics, Race, Republicans, Uncategorized | 26 Comments

This county board will not be bullied

They may advise but not consent!

In repudiating the nomination of Shelia Stubbs for Human Services director, Dane County supervisors announced they will not be played the race card. They will not be bullied. They will not be mere rubber stamps to the executive’s dictates. 

The Dane County Board of Supervisors on Thursday 05-04-23 issued a statement that they are a co-equal branch of government.

They would exercise their role of advise and consent even if it meant defeating the nomination of a politically well connected legislator, a Democrat in this bluest of counties, leader of a church, and a black woman at that. Truly remarkable! The vote was 27 to deny, 2 to confirm, with 5 abstentions and 3 absent.

Take note! These supervisors are among the Wokest in the land. Heidi Wegleitner, for instance, chairs the Health and Human Needs Committee — one of the controlling committees over the appointment. She is all Defund the Jail but led the fight against Ms. Stubbs’ appointment.

“There is a misnomer that our job as a county board is to be a rubber stamp approval board.”

— Sup. Dana Pellebon, one of the three Black supervisors. 

Rep. Stubbs sat through the meeting without speaking. But she enlisted a short but impressive list of race industry supporters on her behalf, including Greg Jones, president of the NAACP. 

Kirbie Mack, the City of Madison’s former affirmative action commissar, represented Blacks for Political Action. “We have never witnessed such blatant bias,” she claimed.

Gloria Reyes, most recently a candidate for mayor, argued that it was unfair to blame the nominee for the race-shaming of her supporters.

Supervisors April Kageya and Dana Pellebon, both black women, explain why the race card does not work as they urge the defeat of the nomination of Shelia Stubbs to be county human services director.

That was deftly countered by Sup. Pellebon, representing Fitchburg. “One cannot manages a church and staff and on the other hand not manage the people; where is the truth: That she can supervise or that she is not responsible for those in her circle?”

If supervisors are forced to endure the sturm und drang  of the lady’s appointment, imagine the fireworks every time the board made a budgetary decision their administrator opposed!

“The nominee has been unable to manage a process without harmful rhetoric from those around her and a reticence to admit mistakes and work to resolve harm…. It makes me wary of any disagreements in the future that will result in further harm to those who deign to disagree.”

— Sup. Dana Pellebon
Sup. Pellebon said the racist remarks “are continuing and have expanded in their ferocity.”

We should make two corrections here of previous blogs. Although she spells her name “Shelia,” it is pronounced “SHEE-la.” I guess it’s like Brett Favre. 

Secondly, the racial slur her supporters leveled against black supervisors was not “oreo” but “house n* * * -er.” 

There was the state representative’s cavalier attitude toward a job supervising almost 900 employees and a $242 million budget. From someone who never managed more than a handful of employees. At several points, she said she would run the Dane County Human Services Department AND serve in the state legislature. Incredible!

Pellebon said she would propose terms the county board wants in the next nomination process.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: County Executive Joe Parisi has some fences to mend. As Pellebon stated, “This rift has been on-going for years and we have seen the result of the lack of communication and partnership between us.” 

Should Parisi be prepared for a challenger next election?

Posted in Dane County Board, Uncategorized | Tagged | 12 Comments