Goodnight everyone, and have a softhearted, upbeat weekend!

Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.

Here’s a portion of a review about a Michael Buble concert in Birmingham, England last May:

“Quite what elevated the 43-year-old Canadian above thousands of other such singers is a moot point. Perhaps the winning formula lies in songs that pack nostalgic and feelgood appeal, are delivered in honeyed, note-perfect vocals and come with the sort of boyish good looks that lead one woman in the front row to hold up a huge heart sign reading: ‘Hug me.’ Bublé doesn’t oblige, but signs it for her so she can put it down, ‘so the fella behind won’t think you’re an asshole for blocking his view’.”

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Just not now.

Almost everything in America is canceled.

Michael Bublé has announced the postponement of 15 arena shows slated for March and into April due to threat of the spreading coronavirus. “I was looking forward to getting back on the road but the safety of my fans and my touring family of course take priority under the current circumstances. We will be coming back soon with new dates and everyone will be safe to enjoy a great night out. Stay well everyone,” Bublé said in a release.

That’s too bad because…

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OK, not the same, but this week we’re repeating a Buble blog from October of 2018.

Enjoy!

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: From psychedelic to country

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“I know that we all know that Kenny is in a better place than we are today and I’m pretty sure that he’s going to be talking to God sometime today… and he’s going to be asking him to spread some light on a bunch of this darkness. I loved Kenny with all my heart. My heart’s broken. A big ol’ chunk of it has gone with him today… You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone. I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend… God bless you Kenny, fly high straight into the arms of God. To the rest of you, keep the faith..”
Dolly PartonKenny Rogers passed away last Friday evening at the age of 81, peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by family.In a career that spanned more than six decades, Rogers gave us chart-topping hits like “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Islands In The Stream,” “Lucille,” “She Believes In Me,” and “Through the Years.” Rogers, with twenty-four number-one hits, was a Country Music Hall of Fame member, six-time CMA Awards winner, three-time GRAMMY® Award winner, recipient of the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, CMT Artist of a Lifetime Award honoree in 2015 and was voted the “Favorite Singer of All Time” in a joint poll by readers of both USA TODAY and People.I’ll get to the music, but first…I’m sure Rogers was a sweetheart of a guy. But I had a bad experience with him that I’ll never forget. Please follow along as I will connect the dots.

Back in the 90’s I moonlighted  working security backstage at the Main Stage of the WI State Fair.  I got hooked into the job when I had press credentials from my job at WTMJ and some of the backstage people whom I’d known for a long, long time asked if I would put on a bright yellow Security shirt and give them a hand.

I shared some backstage security memories in a  blog I wrote in 2007.

WAYNE NEWTON

Mr. Las Vegas came to the Fair about 7 or 8 years ago, complete with full orchestra and state of the art lighting, lasers, and Vegas-style stage show.

It was an extremely hot and humid night, and tickets sold barely numbered a thousand.

About an hour before the show I was backstage, keeping my eye on the dressing room trailers. Suddenly, out of the main dressing room walks Wayne Newton, about 15 feet away from me. The well-tanned, jet black-haired Newton was resplendent in evening tuxedo and bow tie. I was in a security baseball cap, bumble bee yellow shirt, black shorts and shoes, and sweating profusely.

I smiled at Newton and before I could say a word, he walked right up to me, extended his right hand and said, “Hello, I’m Wayne Newton.”

It wasn’t until later that I recalled how this particular moment reminded me of an interview done with one of Elvis’ back-up singers, the Jordanaires after Elvis had died. I believe it was Gordon Stoker who said that when Elvis had a recording session, he would walk into the studio and before getting started, he would make it a point to say hello to everyone, from the engineers to the janitor.

Bobby Vinton said the first time he met Elvis was in Las Vegas and Elvis introduced himself first to Vinton, Usually, its’ the other way around, with the lesser name addressing the bigger name first.

Being an Elvis fan, and knowing Elvis and Newton were very good friends, I was immediately impressed that Newton talked to a lowly security guard immediately after leaving his dressing room.

Newton and I, just the two of us, stood there and conversed for 15 minutes, just exactly about what I do not recall. But it was amazing to me how down to earth this guy was.

Newton went onstage in blistering heat before a crowd that could have been multiplied by ten and it still would not have been a full house, and he worked and worked for two hours and 45 minutes for that small audience. Certainly he could have shortened his show, but he did not.

After the show, an exhausted, drenched Newton was informed by other security that the Governor of Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson, was on the grounds and wanted to meet him. Waiting nearby was Newton’s private limo, ready to take him to the airport and his private jet.

Newton told security he would love to meet Governor Thompson.

Security then told Newton that Governor Thompson was elsewhere on the grounds participating in the Governor’s annual livestock auction and would be about another 30 minutes.

Without hesitation, Newton said, “I’ll wait.”

And he did.

The two celebrities enjoyed each other’s company before Newton finally did climb into his limo to drive to Mitchell International.

Now, I am not a huge fan, but I have always liked Wayne Newton. After seeing him at the Wisconsin State Fair, he will always be top-notch in my book.

KENNY ROGERS

The very next night after Wayne Newton, Kenny Rogers was the headliner.

When his huge tour bus pulled in, it stopped directly behind the stage. Part of our duties backstage includes organizing and overseeing the “meet and greets,” the impromptu photo opportunities for selected fans or fan club members or winners of radio contests to meet the stars. We were told by Rogers’ “people” that Rogers would come off the bus, immediately talk to the fans that we would line up, he would say hello and they would say hello, and after he’d pose for one photo, the fan was to walk away.

And that’s exactly what happened. When it was time to meet the fans, and as I recall there were only about ten at the most, finally Rogers emerged from the tour bus, and in robotic fashion said hello to each fan, signed an autograph, posed for a picture….NEXT!

Each fan encounter took no more than 15-20 seconds. When the line was done, in literally a few minutes, Rogers stormed right back into his bus until showtime.

Before the show, Rogers and his staff were told that Governor Thompson was going to be at the show with a group of people and wanted to meet Rogers afterwards. Rogers had agreed, but the plan was that as soon as Rogers walked offstage, the Governor and his entourage were to get backstage as quickly as possible to meet Rogers, who wanted to leave as soon as possible.

Knowing what Rogers wanted to do, we had Governor Thompson and his group leave their seats and come into the backstage area for the final few songs in order to save time. They were positioned along the side of the stage.

Rogers’ tour bus driver had lined up the bus so that Rogers could literally walk off the stage, down the steps, and right onto the bus. When Rogers ended the show, he climbed right into the bus, its motor running.

Around the corner comes Thompson in cowboy hat and jeans with his group, literally running to try to meet Rogers. Too late. He got there just in time to see Rogers get onto the bus, the door close, and the bus take off, exhaust flying in the direction of the Governor.

Contrast that to the way Wayne Newton handled himself the night before.

Rogers’ career got a big break in 1966 when he joined the New Christy Minstrels, famous for their hits “Green Green.” He didn’t stay long, leaving in 1967 to form “The First Edition.”

A 1968 single that cautioned about the use of LSD became Rogers’ first top ten hit, peaking at #5.

The studio recording of “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” has some interesting trivia. Rogers sang the lead vocal.  Glen Campbell played guitar. Hal Blaine plated drums, just as he did on another psychedelic song, “Good Vibrations.” Mickey Newbury wrote the lyrics (famous for “American Trilogy”). Mike Post produced the recording and would expand his portfolio with numerous TV themes.

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Mike Post didn’t actually care for Rogers, didn’t want him singing lead.

“What became the hit but the last thing in with the guy who I thought was the least talented. Shows what I know,” Post said.

BONUS

Rollin’ on the River (later shortened to Rollin) was a musical variety television program hosted by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition that was produced by CTV in Canada and was broadcast in syndication from 1971 to 1973.

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A personal request from Gov. Tommy Thompson

This was originally posted by the Wisconsin Conservative Digest.

A personal message from Gov. Tommy Thompson:

Dear Friends and Supporter across Wisconsin,

Please Please Please apply for your absentee ballot for the election on April 7th as there are several important contests on the ballot. I want to ensure that during this time of turmoil in the world with the Coronavirus that you don’t forget to apply so that you can get your vote counted.

We have the Presidential primary, an election for Wisconsin Supreme Court, which is very important and of course the races for your local officials.

I know that you are extremely frustrated, somewhat afraid and very concerned about what is taking place in our Country, but that is even more reason to apply for your ballot and participate in this election.

There will be a small turnout for the election and that it is why we all should apply for a ballot if you can.

Here are steps you can take to vote early and request an absentee ballot:

  1. Go to https://myvote.wi.gov
  2. Voting Absentee:
    https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/VoteAbsentee
    * MOST IMPORTANT THING TO DO
  3. Find your polling place:
    https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/FindMyPollingPlace
  4. Who’s on your ballot:
    https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/PreviewMyBallot
  5. Register to vote online:
    https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/RegisterToVote
    * deadline is March 30
  6. Call your Municipal clerk to see if you can vote early in-person or set an appointment to vote:
    https://myvote.wi.gov/en-US/MyMunicipalClerk
  7. If you don’t vote early, make a plan to vote on April 7. Polls are open from 7 am-8 pm
  8. Share this information with 10 conservative friends and encourage them to vote.

Your friend,

Tommy

 

Can The Packing House Restaurant (and others) do it again?

It’s Friday. A Friday in Lent. That means…

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The above is from The Packing House on E. Layton Avenue near the airport. The restaurant made news last week when General Manager Chris Wiken made an impassioned plea for consumers to patronize struggling places like his. What happened last Friday night was more than Wiken could dream of.

“You had to see it to believe it” video showed block after block, cars by the hundred patiently waiting in line to snarf a Packing House fish fry, one of the very best, from their convenient drive-thru.

You don’t know about that drive-thru? Watch the Fox 6 video in this 2014 article.

Is it possible for The Packing House and other Friday fish fry hot spot to have a repeat performance today? They almost have to. Because a big Friday turnout is necessary to make up for the lack of customers the other six days of the week.  The paralyzing trend is happening nationwide.

  • According to Full-Service Restaurant News, during a 5-day period last week sales dropped on average 74%
  • QSR Automations compared visits for on-premises restaurants from 2019 to 2020. For 3/24/20 the decline in visits from one year ago is a whopping 77% in the state of Wisconsin.
  • Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney said, “The industry isn’t large enough for all restaurants to survive just on delivery, but they can survive for a matter of weeks potentially.”

So, do you have a Packing House road trip in mind?

WEDNESDAY through Lent & FRIDAY FISH FRY Drive-Thru  READY ON DEMAND $13.95 CASH ONLY ON FRIDAY. (CALL AHEAD all other menu items on Friday and pick up at Curbside Service sign) 

Or please visit the restaurant of your choice, during the week as well if you can.

Neighbor helping neighbor. Reaching out to those in need. We can do this, folks.

 

Today’s highly interesting read (03/27/20): Democrats Might Find It Better To Concede 2020 To Trump

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Today’s read is from the Editorial Board of Issues and Insights. The obligatory tease:

(Biden is) a politician who can’t handle what Trump has been saddled with. The 77-year-old prospective Democratic nominee Joe Biden, speaking in a live stream from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday, fumbled all over his words. After calling for more medical personnel to deal with “this crush of cases,” Biden added, “And, uh, in addition to that, in addition to that, we have to make sure that, we are …” Then he motioned to staff to roll the teleprompter before exasperatedly saying, “Well, let me go to the second thing …”

Democrats and the media apparently don’t yet realize it, but it is so bad that – barring a brokered nomination that raises New York’s Cuomo to the podium in the summer – the party may even find itself conceding that you cannot win against an incumbent president during a global crisis that he is handling effectively. And according to Gallup, 60% approve of Trump’s handling of this emergency.

You can read the entire editorial here.

Trump commendably works to be Reaganesque

No president has been as effective at comforting a nation in turmoil as Ronald Reagan.

His speech to a grieving America in 1986 will always be remembered.

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“We will never forget them,” President Reagan said in the Oval Office of the White House in a televised address to the nation about the Space Shuttle Challenger astronauts who lost their lives, “nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”

Many years before Reagan settled in at the White House he aggressively delivered a message of real, authentic hope as America was reeling. As Reagan accepted his party’s nomination for president in 1980 he pledged a brighter future.

“I will not stand by and watch this great country destroy itself under mediocre leadership that drifts from one crisis to the next, eroding our national will and purpose,” Reagan said. “The time is now, my fellow Americans, to recapture our destiny, to take it into our own hands.”

Craig Shirley, author of “Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America” said, “In a way, the malaise in the country had been going on for 17 years going back to the assassination of JFK in November of 1963. We’d had one president cut down by an assassin’s bullet, one president resigned because he had contempt for the constitution, a failed presidency in Lyndon Johnson, the first time America had ever lost a war, and then you had the cultural decline of the 1970s.”

Ed Meese, Reagan’s campaign manager said, “One of his (Reagan’s) objectives was to revive the can-do spirit of the American people.”

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., who served on Reagan’s press team, said “Ordinary Americans were treated as buffoons and criminals. He talked about heroism being a trait of ordinary people who are meeting their challenges and the challenges of the country.”

It worked. Reagan demolished the incumbent Jimmy Carter in a landslide in the 1980 election.

Fast forward to now. President Trump said recently, “Our country wasn’t built to be shut down. America will again and soon be open for business. This is going away. We’re going to win the battle.”

Many found it downright incredulous that President Trump could be so optimistic when he said he wants to get “people back to work” by Easter Sunday.

“Easter is a very special day for me. Wouldn’t it be great to have all of the churches full—you know the churches aren’t allowed to have much of a congregation there. And most of them, I watched on Sunday online—and it was terrific, by the way—but online is never going to be like being there. So I think Easter Sunday and you’ll have packed churches all over our country—I think it will be a beautiful time. And it’s just about the timeline that I think is right.”

Needless to say President Trump’s strategy was immediately blasted by the mainstream media. Not surprising CNN found a willing individual to rip away. Dr. Dena Grayson, a medical researcher and Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Florida in 2016 told the network, “You can’t spin death.”

Am I suggesting the quality of President Trump’s cheerleading matches that of Ronald Reagan’s? Of course not. President Trump could successfully end the coronavirus by the time you finish reading this and still be skinned alive. And yet, when all of America has been shut down by the likes of WI Governor Tony Evers and so many others,  essentially  crippling businesses and our economy, our president remains optimistic with a strong faith in the nation he leads.

Times are significantly different today than they were during Reagan’s eight years in office. Even Reagan’s skeptics, and he had plenty, still marveled at his uncanny ability to skillfully communicate to Americans, no matter the dilemma at hand. Today, the country is more hateful, spurred by a much more hateful news media that has lost all sense of objectivity.

Honesty and transparency are demanded and expected of any leader. However an excess of gloom and doom, especially now, can inflict more damage to the American psyche that is already backed up and leaning on the ropes.

The United States will see its way out of this and rebound in a big way. That is what most Americans want, unless their sheer hatred has engulfed them to a sorry point of no return, desperately clinging to thoughts of a Biden victory in November

Maybe President Trump will never be totally Reaganesque. But don’t stop now Mr. President.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s highly interesting read (03/26/20): Doctors Are Writing Their Wills

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Today’s read is from the NY Times. Here’s a brief excerpt:

And so every day before she leaves the hospital, Dr. Au takes a shower, washes her hair and changes clothes. Then she does the same thing at home, her old clothes now contaminated because she wore them in her car. Last, she takes a diluted bleach solution and wipes down every surface she has touched: doorknobs, car handle, phone and so on.

Not long ago she would have thought these precautions were crazy. “Now,” she said, “it seems completely reasonable.”

For two weeks she has slept in the basement, while her husband, a surgeon, sleeps in their bedroom, because, “One of us has to stay healthy.”

Dr. Au’s situation is not the exception, but the rule…

You can read the entire article here.

Today’s highly interesting read (03/25/20): Wisconsin can cancel the apocalypse

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Today’s read is from…

Not the strongest conservative. Too anti-Trump for my blood. But his column fits the above headline description. Highly interesting. The obligatory tease:

The simple fact is: Wisconsin must work. We should look at this short-lived shutdown as a time to prepare ourselves and ready our tools to kill the virus with growing confidence. Instead of watching Netflix until the federal government saves us, we need to save ourselves. We are rapidly learning how dangerous it is to shut our doors and grind the economy to a halt. If we keep them shut much longer, we will open them only to find a fundamentally weakened state and country.

Read the entire column here.