Revisiting Favorite Places

June 10, 2013
A field of Lupine near Plainfield, Wisconsin.

A field of Lupine near Plainfield, Wisconsin.

I photograph what I know best, the landscape about me. Based on my knowledge of the area, the time of year and my best estimate of light conditions, I typically plan to visit a half dozen places during a morning’s photographic venture. I have visited many of these places multiple times before, you could call them my favorite places. I often take a new route to a favorite place and at times am reward by finding an additional favorite place.  Such is the case with today’s image.

The location is near Plainfield, Wisconsin not far from a Wisconsin State Natural Area containing a federally endangered plant. Visiting this SNA over the years, I began to notice this field of lupine becoming more impressive over time. Lupine is an important flowering plant in these parts as the Karner Blue Butterfly (a federally listed endangered species) is totally dependent on lupine for it’s life cycle.  Central Wisconsin hosts a health population of Karner Blue’s.

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Recombobulating in Milwaukee!

May 27, 2013
Recombobulating in Milwaukee

Recombobulating in Milwaukee

Have you ever tried joking around with the TSA employees at the airport?  Those that have, typically end up going through a more thorough than typical evaluation often behind closed doors. So I recommend being polite and humorless as you go through the TSA airport screen. Not that the TSA is completely humorless.

Just beyond the screening area at the Milwaukee County Airport, the TSA has graciously provided a Recombobulation Area.

Just what is recombobulation you may ask….the act of recombobulation is to put back into order or removing confusion. With the new TSA screening procedures that require removal of your shoes, everything from your pockets, and with your carry-on thrown into disarray as you remove your computer and liquids, I certainly feel out of sorts just after going through airport screening.  From what I can tell, seems as if this is a state of discombobulation.

Getting back to normal is then to recombobulate. Now once you are recombobulated are you combobulated? The answer is no because there is no such word as combobulate.

Seems as if the word  “discombobulate” sprung up on it’s own  independent of any previous words, with no Latin or Greek origins. It apparently formed as a joking alteration of “discompose” or “discomfit” — terms for confusing or upsetting a person. There then was no true word recombobulate or combobulate.

Wow, who ever said the TSA is humorless, they pulled a fast one at the Milwaukee Airport even coining a new word.  I understand the “Recombobulation Area” sign has become very popular with travelers going through Milwaukee. Popular enough that combobulate and recombobulate are on their way to become accepted words.

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Emerging Out Of The Mist

May 17, 2013
Fog sunrise

Emerging out of the mist

Central Wisconsin is often shrouded in an early morning fog. It’s beauty is often lost as most folks are simply not awake early enough to witness it.  The farm in the above image is located near Amherst, Wisconsin.

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Mad Capper – A Husband Day Care!

May 11, 2013
Mad Capper in Stillwater, Minnesota

Mad Capper in Stillwater, Minnesota

We spent some time in Minnesota this weekend visiting my daughter and son-in-law. Had breakfast in Stillwater, a tourist town with a boat load of shopping on the main street. We walked past this saloon and could not help but notice this place seemed to be inviting wives to drop off their husbands while they make the rounds of all the shops.

Husband Day Care Center

Husband Day Care Center

Nice idea!

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Quotable Quotes – Coaching and Mentoring

May 8, 2013

I attended a leadership conference the other day about coaching and mentoring.  I am sharing a whole peck of notable quotes that were presented to us.

Vince Lombardi

  • Winning is not a some time thing; it’s an all the time thing.
  • You’ve got to be smart to be number one in any business.  But more importantly, you’ve got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body.  If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second …
  • And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline.
  • But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour- his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear- is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle- victorious.
  • You don’t do things right once in a while… you do them right all the time.
  • Once a man has made a commitment to a way of life, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him.  It’s something we call heart power.  Once a man has made this commitment, nothing will stop him short of success.
  • The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.
  • It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.
  • Winning is not everything- but making the effort to win is.
  • The spirit, the will to win and the will to excel- these are the things that will endure and these are qualities that are so much more important than any of the events themselves.
  • They call it coaching but it is teaching.  You do not just tell them …you show them the reasons.
  • After all the cheers have died down and the stadium is empty, after the headlines have been written, and after you are back in the quiet of y our room and the championship ring has been placed on the dresser and after all the pomp and fanfare have faded, the enduring thing that is left is the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to live.
  • Teams do not go physically flat, they go mentally stale.
  • Success is like anything worthwhile.  It has a price.  You have to pay the price to win and you have to pay the price to get to the point where success is possible.  Most important, you must pay the price to stay there.
  • Leaders are made, they are not born.  They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.
  • Winning is a habit.  Watch your thoughts, they become your beliefs.  Watch your beliefs, they become your words.  Watch your words, they become your actions.  Watch your actions, they become your habits.  Watch your habits, they become your character.
  • The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.
  • Confidence is contagious and so is a lack of confidence, and a customer will recognize both.
  • If you don’t think you’re a winner, you don’t belong here.
  • It is essential to understand that battles are primarily won in the hearts of men.  Men respond to leadership in a most remarkable way and once you have won his heart, he will follow you anywhere.
  • If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you’ll be fired with enthusiasm.
  • If you can’t get emotional about what you believe in your heart, you’re in the wrong business.
  • There’s only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything.  I do, and I demand that my players do.
  • To be successful, a man must exert an effective influence upon his brothers and upon his associates, and the degree to which he accomplishes this depends on the personality of the man.  The incandescence of which he is capable.  The flame of fire that burns inside of him.  The magnetism which draws the heart of other men to him.
  • Some of us will do our jobs well and some will not, but we will all be judged on one thing: the result.
  • The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules- but to win.
  • Morally, the life of the organization must be of exemplary nature.  This is one phase where the organization must not have criticism.
  • Win without boasting. Lose without excuses.
  • All right Mister, let me tell you what winning means… you’re willing to go longer, work harder, give more than anyone else.
  • People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.
  • The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.

Lou Holtz

  • How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game, whether you are a winner or loser.
  • No matter how bad someone has it, there are others who have it worse.  Remembering that makes life a lot easier and allows you to take pleasure in the blessings you have been given.
  • Your neighbors will make judgments about you based on how your lawn and house look, and people who see you passing will judge you based on how clean you keep your car.  It’s not always fair, but it has always been true.  Appearances matter, so make yours a good one.
  • It’s always better to face the truth, no matter how uncomfortable, than to continue coddling a lie.
  • Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.
  • If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today.
  • I’ve never known anybody to achieve anything without overcoming adversity.
  • Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.

John Wooden

  • Nothing will work unless you do.
  • Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.
  • A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.
  • Make sure that team members know they are working with you, not for you.
  • Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.
  • As long as you try your best, you are never a failure. That is, unless you blame others.
  • Be most interested to find the best way; not in having your own way.
  • Be slow to criticize and quick to commend.
  • Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details.
  • Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
  • Everything we know, we learned from someone else!
  • Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.
  • If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
  • If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.
  • Never mistake activity for achievement.
  • The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move.

George Halas

  • Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.

Mike Ditka

  • You’re never a loser until you quit trying.

Leroy Satchel Paige

  • You win a few, you lose a few.  Some get rained out.  But you got to dress for all of them.

John Madden

  • Coaches have to watch for what they don’t want to see and listen to what they don’t want to hear.
  • Self-praise is for losers. Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble.

Pat Riley

  • Excellence happens when you try each day to both do and be, a little better than you were yesterday!

Casey Stengel

  • Gettin’ good players is easy. Gettin’ em to play together is the hard part.

Tony Dungy

  • Hard work and togetherness. They go hand in hand. You need the hard work because it’s such a tough atmosphere….to win week in and week out. You need togetherness because you don’t always win, and you gotta hang tough together.

Paul “Bear” Bryant

  • If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, then we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it. That’s all it takes to get people to win football games.
  • In a crisis, don’t hide behind anything or anybody. They are going to find you anyway.
  • Little things make the difference. Everyone is well prepared in the big things, but only the winners perfect the little things.

Yogi Berra

  • If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.
  • It ain’t over till it’s over.

Don Shula

  • My responsibility is leadership, and the minute I get negative, that is going to have an influence on my team.

Tommy Lasorda

  • The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.
  • I believe managing is like holding a dove in your hand. If you hold it too tightly you kill it, but if you hold it too loosely, you lose it.

Rick Pitino

  • The only way to get people to like working hard is to motivate them. Today, people must understand why they’re working hard. Every individual in an organization is motivated by something different.

Joe Paterno

  • The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital.

Chuck Noll

  • You can’t make a great play unless you do it first in practice.

Phil Jackson

  • Love is the force that ignites the spirit and binds teams together.

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Good Morning Wisconsin!

May 7, 2013

Crepusculur rays originating from clouds below the horizon.

The above image is an unusual example  of crepuscular rays. The name comes from their typical appearance during crepuscular hours (those around dawn and dusk), when the contrasts between light and dark are the most obvious. Crepuscular comes from the Latin word crepusculum meaning twilight.

A key component for crepuscular rays is the casting of a shadow. The shadow can be due to most anything, typically clouds. The result is sunlight broken into darkened areas (in the shadow) and lighted areas. The above image was attained prior to sunrise with the crepuscular rays caused by clouds below the horizon.

The visible beams always appear to spread out from the light source. In the above image the rays appear to diverge  from the base of the silo.  When I noticed the crepuscular rays forming, I changed my position allowing the rays to appear to be related to the farm buildings.

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Spring is Here!

May 4, 2013
Red Barn in Portage County Wisconsin

Red Barn in Portage County Wisconsin during early spring.

Our snow has finally melted in central Wisconsin. Farmers are plowing their fields, grasses are beginning to become a little green and trees are budding. A few of use have runny eyes and stuffy noses (tree allergies) but all of use have big smiles on our faces because winter seems behind us. I am sure mother nature still has a few cold weather surprises for us but spring is here.

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UWSP Choirs Concert, May 5, 2013

May 2, 2013
UWSP Choirs Concert, May 5, 2013

UWSP Choirs Concert, May 5, 2013

I was contacted the other day by an intern with the UWSP Department of Music asking for permission to use an image from a previous blog post titled . My images are generally available without charge to local non-profit and educational organizations for promotional purposes.  I am also delighted the intern asked for my permission to utilize the image.  I am glad to know graphic arts students are taught to respect ownership of intellectual material. If you like his poster and want to contract for his services let me know, I can put the two of you in contact with each other.

If you are in the area, make sure to attend this concert.  I heard some of the program at . The concert is sure to please you.


Mayhem in My Yard!!!

May 1, 2013

Hurray, hurray it is the first of May!

I am so glad this foolish month of April is finally finished. It looks like winter may finally be behind us and we can look forward to spring. Not only was the weather cruel but lady luck was against me as well.

Over the years I have learned that if you are on the cutting edge of technology, sometimes the technology cuts you bad.  This week I was reminded of that concept once again.  I am sorry to tell you that I had to return   to the dealer and I now have my chimney mounted sprinkler system up for sale.

headless tulipsThe S680 cut the grass like a champ but it’s 42 foot mower head was just a tad too big. While mowing the lawn I paid great attention to the left edge next to the house but not so much attention to the right side. Last year my daughter gave my wife a thousand tulip bulbs for Mother’s Day and we planted them all near the road.  They were beautiful this year until the mower neatly dispatched them.

Standing on my former lawn mower :(

Standing on my former John Deere S680 lawn mower 😦

My S680 could have survived that mistake but then I ran into another problem. I was able to mow the entire front yard in about 10 seconds but what do you do when you reach the edge of the yard?  I put the tractor in reverse but gave it too much gas and popped a wheelie. That caused the rear tires to make huge divots in the yard.  UFFDA!  I am now looking for a more conventional mower.

As to my sprinkler project… you know, the one where I planned to mount the agriculture sprinkler head on my chimney and water my lawn from one central location. I got it up and running and then fine tuned it making sure the coverage of my lawn was just right, not too much nor too little.  Yesterday  I made a tiny error.  Rather than turning up the timer I mistakenly turned up the power on the pump and then left to run a few errands.  I got back only to find the sprinkler significantly over shooting my lawn – I think Allstate insurance would have considered this to be the work of Mayhem.  Well, the power of the sprinkler blew out my neighbor’s second floor bedroom window.  Can you imagine how much water can get through a second floor window at 150 gallons per minute? Water flows downhill so it also drenched the first floor and filled the basement.  On the bright side, they always wanted an indoor swimming pool.

And the neighbors on the other side, well they have a couple of Pomeranians who just happened to be penned up in the their back yard at the time. Let me tell you, despite not liking water, they were completed soaked.  Boy were they dancing, shaking and rolling around in their pen.  Needless to say, I will not be using that chimney sprinkler again.

Gotta go,  I better cancel the crop duster who was going to apply fertilizer and weed killer on my lawn with one pass of his aircraft.  I am beginning to imagine the mayhem that might cause.

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St. Clare’s Hospital Chapel

April 29, 2013
St. Clare's Hospital Chapel in Weston, Wisconsin

St. Clare’s Hospital Chapel in Weston, Wisconsin

St. Clare’s Hospital in Weston is Ministry Health Care’s newest and is Wisconsin’s first all digital hospital. It has dedicated clinicians and staff who have developed a world-class health care facility. Other hospitals in the area claim to have a passion for excellence, but St. Clare’s has the data and national recognition that actually prove its commitment to excellence.

St. Clare’s sponsoring congregation is Franciscan (St. Francis of Assisi, Italy). Clare was a beautiful Italian noblewoman who became the Foundress of an order of nuns now called “Poor Clares.” When she heard St. Francis of Assisi preach, she was called to a life of devotion and to live a poor humble  life for Jesus. One evening, she ran away from home, and in a little chapel outside Assisi, gave herself to God. St. Francis cut off her hair and gave her a rough brown  habit to wear, tied with a plain cord around her waist.

The chapel at St. Clare’s is the essence of simplicity.  It is sparsely decorated but with a cross on either end. 

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