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Canada Day

Family, Popular Culture

Today's music rekindles fond memories of a summer of traveling and a certain German girl. 

But I digress.

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Simple pleasures

Food

The Fourth of July is almost upon us. So I thought I'd share a family (and friends) favorite dessert. We make it year round, usually with frozen raspberries, but it's even more magical on a hot summer day. If we get another one of those, and I'm pretty sure we will.


Frozen Raspberry (or Strawberry) Meringue Torte

Crust

1c gingersnap crumbs
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 c melted butter
1/2 c chopped pecans

Combine ingredients. Press into bottom of 10 inch spring form pan. Bake 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool.

Filling

3 cups raspberries or strawberries or combination, fresh or frozen
1 c sugar
2 egg whites
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1 c whipping cream

Slice strawberries (raspberries are fine as they are). Combine with sugar, egg whites, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt in large bowl of electric mixer. Beat on low speed to blend, then high speed until peaks form when beaters are removed--about 15 minutes (I think a little less if you are using frozen fruit). In another bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form, then fold into berry meringue. Pour into cooled crust. Cover and freeze until very firm (12 hours).

If desired, pass bowl of more fruit to spoon over slices. Blueberries would be festive for the Fourth!

Walking the Dog

Critters, Girlfriend, Just For Fun, Outdoors

This is my Labrador retriever - Girlfriend.

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New Additions

Books 

Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the 
                          Longest
 by Dan Buettner 

Driving Like Crazy: Thirty Years of Vehicular Hellbending, Celebrating America the Way It’s Supposed to Be-With an Oil Well in Every Backyard, a Cadillac Escalade in Every Carport, and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank Mowing Our Lawn by P.J. O’Rourke 

Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live by Sarah Susanka 

Purpose of Boys: Helping Our Sons Find Meaning, Significance, and Direction in Their Lives by Michael Gurian 

Record Makers and Breakers: Voices of the Independent Rock ‘N’ Roll Pioneers by John Broven 

Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick 

Shanghai Girls
by Lisa See 

Smart Policies for Workplace Technologies: Emails, Blogs, Cell Phones & More by Lisa Guerin 

Street Fighters: the Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street by Kate Kelly 

Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average by Joseph T. Hallinan 

Audiobooks on CD 

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child 

Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian Greene 

Fugitive by Phillip Margolin 

Stone’s Fall by Iain Pears 

Summer World: A Season of Bounty by Bernd Heinrich 

Music on CD 

   Intimate Letters (Janacek & Martinu)
/Emerson String Quartet 

Summer Love Songs
/Beach Boys 

Time Out/Dave Brubeck Quartet 

Townes/Steve Earle 

Veckatimest/Grizzly Bear     

DVDs 

Faith Like Potatoes  

Gran Torino 

He’s Just Not That Into You 

Last Chance Harvey 

Revolutionary Road             

Gardens of Wauwatosa

    The Wauwatosa Beautification Committee is a volunteer organization dedicated to preserving and improving the beauty of our neighborhoods by planting and maintaining gardens throughout Wauwatosa.  

The garden beds you see around the “Welcome to Wauwatosa” signs, in the boulevards and around other public spaces in Wauwatosa are the work of the Committee and the Committee’s volunteer gardeners, the“Gardening Angels”.  The beds around the Library/City Hall entrance and throughout the parking lot are full of flowering trees, shrubs, irises, lilies and other lovely plants. These gardens beautify the area and brighten the day of the employees and visitors to the Library and City Hall.  The WBC also encourages and recognizes Wauwatosa residents and business owners that contribute to the beauty of our neighborhoods by annually presenting the “Yard of Distinction” award to homes and businesses in Wauwatosa. 

The Wauwatosa Beautification Committee is not funded by any government agency, it depends on funds raised through its annual garden tour and support from individuals. The 15th annual Secret Gardens of Wauwatosa Tour is July 11, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The tour will start at the Kneeland-Walker House (7406 Hillcrest Drive) and include seven Wauwatosa gardens.  Master gardeners will be present to answer questions and plant societies will sell plants and garden-related items.  Tickets are $10 in advance at some local businesses and $12 on the day of the tour.  Call 258-9014 for more information. 

Support the Wauwatosa Beautification Committee and the work it does and have an enchanting day in the secret gardens of Wauwatosa. 

A quiet Fourth

Fourth of July

One of the bright spots of an economic down-turn is the return to smaller town values and celebrations. Instead of driving long miles and facing the tense ride home, we stayed in town, along with many others.

Liz and I enjoyed the Wauwatosa parade for the first time since the twins were a lot younger. We parked in the almost-abandonded Hoyt Park lot and walked a few blocks to Alterra, where Liz snagged an iced coffee. The parade had started: it seemed as good a spot as any for watching, so we stayed.

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St. Bernard's Bike Brigade @ Tosa's Independence Day Celebration

PARADE

On Saturday, July 4, St. Bernard Parish School students, parents, and special guests were again honored and privileged to have participated in Wauwatosa's 2009 Independence Day Parade.  We were blessed by great weather, enthusiastic crowds, and awesome citizenship shown by our kids.  Please enjoy the pictures.

Trying stuff

Food

The farmer's market on Locust Street mid-day Sundays has the cheapest prices around. For $1 each, I picked up bunches of basil, chard, a box of sugar snap peas, and something called "Chinese spinach" the seller assured me I would love.

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The Teberg Fund (Vol. 1)

Thus far, the response to the Mutual Fund Minute has been very positive.   We’ve had some readers ask us what it is exactly that we do at First Associated Investment Advisors, Inc. (“FAIA”), so in this edition we’ll explain.   FAIA is a professional investment management firm. Our primary focus is on the efficient management of our publicly traded investment portfolio, The Teberg Fund. The Teberg Fund is a diversified, actively managed portfolio of mutual funds. The portfolio is put together with an emphasis on managing risk and preserving capital. It is designed for the investor who wants to own a distinct mix of mutual funds but wants a seasoned professional to do the research, pick the funds and to decide when to buy and when to sell.  I have put together the below Q & A which I hope will answer some of the many questions asked about FAIA and The Teberg Fund. Due to space concerns, this will be the first edition of an ongoing, periodic Q&A column regarding The Teberg Fund.

What is your investment philosophy?  Our overall investment philosophy is rooted within our mid-western values, conservative and cautious. This approach means making every effort to protect the accumulated wealth of our shareholders, while trying to grow the funds they have entrusted us with. We do so in a conservative manner which means we try to avoid the huge swings in the market. Overall, what we try to do is ride the roller coaster up, but then try to get out before it gets to the top. When we get out we know we are leaving some possible gains on the table, but we hope to avoid the freefall of the ride on the other side. We’ll get back in, but on our terms.   This actively managed approach allows us to realize some gains, book those gains, then use them to get back in at our discretion.   In a perfect world we would like to ride it all the way up, however very few know when you are actually at the top, and the risk of getting caught in the ride down is too much for us. The way down is always much scarier than the way up. 

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Retirement Plans for Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, planning for retirement, and how it is going to be funded, often takes a back seat to the everyday operations of running your business. In this Mutual Fund Minute we want to get you thinking about investing for your, and/or your employees’, future. We will introduce you to the straightforward investment options of two small business retirement plans. Those plans are the Simplified Employer Pension Plan (“SEP”) and the Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (“SIMPLE”). Each plan will be outlined and discussed below. 

Definitions        

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Oversight of a Mutual Fund

As I read the articles about the investment professional or product which has swindled its investors out of their life's savings, it occurs to me that publicly traded mutual funds do not get enough credit for the carefully developed regulatory oversight already in place to protect mutual fund shareholders.   

In the investment industry, publicly traded mutual funds are referred to as Regulated Investment Companies, or RICs, and regulated they are.  By being a RIC, the fund enjoys some preferential tax concessions.  It is very important for a fund to maintain its RIC status.  It's not easy, but it is vital to their existence.  To do so a fund must comply with a substantial set of regulations from a diverse set of regulatory organizations.  Let me give you one example, the Prospectus. 

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Eating Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson



When it comes to Michael Jackson, we won’t stop ‘til we get enough. And it seems we can never get enough, especially now that he’s dead and we don’t have his troubled life to choke us as we gorge on the myth.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I’ve followed the Michael Jackson death coverage so closely. I’m not the biggest fan of his music, though I can’t help but join in the dance when I hear it. I don’t follow celebrities, though you couldn’t take your eyes off this one, whether his image was moving through space in the freedom of dance or in a wheel chair immobilized by some great pain of the body or spirit.

His talent was enormous. But that doesn’t explain the fascination.

James Baldwin wrote an essay, Here Be Dragons, about Jackson in 1985.
 
The Michael Jackson cacophony is fascinating in that it is not about Jackson at all. I hope he has the good sense to know it and the good fortune to snatch his life out of the jaws of a carnivorous success. He will not swiftly be forgiven for having turned so many tables, for he damn sure grabbed the brass ring, and the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo has nothing on Michael.

All that noise is about America, as the dishonest custodian of black life and wealth; the blacks, especially males, in America; and the burning, buried American guilt; and sex and sexual roles and sexual panic; money, success and despair–to all of which may now be added the bitter need to find a head on which to place the crown of Miss America.

Freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated–in the main, abominably–because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires.

I’m hardly the first to wish that Jackson had avoided the man-eating jaws of the money-and-fame machine. But to do that, he’d have to have stepped aside from those who fed on him. He couldn’t seem to do that.

I wonder what it would be like to see Michael Jackson as he was, matching his terrors and desires to our own. But we won’t. Instead, we’ll remember the pretty parts, the MTV triumphs, that Billy Jean bass line. We'll say sanctimonious things about cousins and aunts and uncles as his children are sent into the cauldron that burned him, the household of his father.

It would be well to remember where we really stood with Jackson before his death absolved us. As blogger Jeff Chang wrote:

But as an audience, we were insatiable and ruthless. Years later, after the satisfaction and ease of his 20s, after he had been broken by self-mutilation and bizarre scandal in his 30s, Michael Jackson would reveal a tragic, bathetic emptiness, pleading, “Have you seen my childhood?” By then, many of us had either turned away or turned on him. The transaction was done.

In the end, he lost even his voice, autotuned first by lawyers and other keepers of his dissipating wealth, consumed by Mickey Mouse-sounding paid-TV defenses and overproduced songs, before finally going silent forever. Time will restore the greatness of Michael Jackson’s artistry. May it also cause us some revulsion at our complicity in his fall as well.


Many of us are called to recreate ourselves in a time where there seems to be less of the stuff of invention. Like Michael, we’ve lived half a century, and it seems unfair to ask us to dance like our younger angels.

Still, with nothing eating me but time, I take some strength and comfort from these words of Jackson’s:

The awareness is expressed through creation.
This world we live in is a dance of the creator.
The dancers appear and disappear
at a glance
but the dance is still living.


So it has always been, and so it will be. The dance continues, onstage or off.

If Only The Dead Could Talk

Roadside Curiosities

Some of you might consider this to be a strange revelation - but I happen to harbor several eccentricities.

No way! 

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Elimination of The QEO and Guaranteeing Teachers' Unions Compensation Increases


The Governor and the Democrats in the Legislature followed the dictates of the State’s teachers union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, by eliminating the Qualified Economic Offer (QEO). The teachers’ unions, not being satisfied with automatic annual increases in their salaries, were able to have the Democratic Governor and the Democratic Legislators change the arbitration statute to guarantee that the unions will win even greater compensation increases than they already receive.

The teachers have argued that the QEO unjustly caps their wages. This is patently false since they receive automatic annual increases in their salaries (Wauwatosa teachers are guaranteed increases that average 3.6% each year). The actual goal of the teachers’ unions was to obtain a guarantee that they would achieve compensation increases beyond what they already receive at whatever level they want to establish. To guarantee that the unions gain the increases they want, the Democratic Governor and the Democrats in the Legislature eliminated consideration of a community’s economic condition as part of the arbitration process exclusively for school district employees. All the teachers’ unions have to do is to propose the compensation increases they want. It doesn’t matter if the School Board rejects their proposal since the State arbitrator will not have to consider whether a community is in the position to pay for the increases.

Wauwatosa taxpayers should not simply cower to the will of the teachers’ unions and the Democrats in State government. Regardless of what our School Board or State arbitrators approve for new compensation increases, we must have the School Board cover increased compensation from within the Districts’ current budget rather than forcing the taxpayers to pay.

Right in your own backyard

Our dishwasher has been broken for a long, long time. Which means that someone in our house spends a lot of time sloshing sudsy water while gazing out the window over the sink.

This evening, sloshing and staring, I noticed a dark spot next to the pile of brush, old buckthorn I'd cut last time I wanted to let off steam. The steam goes fast: I never seem to have enough left to haul the damage away and convert the chaos to tidy roadside bundles suitable for pick-up.

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Christmas in July... and August... and September...

pop culture, tradition

Well, it has to start sometime. A mere six months and a few weeks before the actual holiday, Christmas has returned.

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Wordshifting: the meaning of "work"

Politics, language, Sarah Palin



When people lament the decline of language—and of the thinking behind it—I am like, all so right there with them. You know?

One of the words undergoing transformation is “work.” Since I’m out of it (work, that is), I have to admit to a conflict of interest in the word and what it means, especially as jobs vanish and work becomes disengaged from formal employment as we've known it.

According to the Urban Dictionary, "work" means two things. One is  “A place where people have to go everyday to get paid. Also known as ‘hell’."

The other is “a supply of contraband to be sold for profit.” This can be low quality “product” or cocaine.

Most of us recognize the first definition, even if we don’t agree with it. And there’s a certain logic to the second one. Our labor (work) is the product most of us have to sell. Personally, mine isn't low quality, but apparently it's not addictive to the buyer, either.

But when it comes to how Republicans use the word, well, I can only quote the great semanticist, philosopher, and actor-former-hunk Sean Connery:

You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, "My God, you're right! I never would've thought of that!"

The Republicans—you know: the party that sells the bumper stickers “We work hard so you don’t have to”--tell us, through lame duck ex-governor and spokesmodel Sarah Palin:

Productive, fulfilled people determine where to put their efforts, choosing to wisely utilize precious time... to BUILD UP. . .

How to do that work? Quit, of course.

According to the Urban Dictionary, "Quitting when the going gets tough; abandoning the responsibility entrusted to you by your neighbors for book advances and to make money on the lecture circuit” is "pullin' a Palin." Nice work if you can get it.

Still struggling to comprehend this bit of Newspeak?

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Honk!...for a good time!

Kids, Fun, Tosans

Have you and your kids hit the mid-summer hum-drums? Need something to do but have very little cash to spend? This coming weekend, head over to Divine Savior Holy Angels High School (DSHA) for their Community Theatre Works Production of Honk! The Musical Tale of the Ugly Duckling.

Watch the beloved Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale come to life on stage. Travel along side Ugly on his feather-flying adventure to find his way back home. Though the play finds him entangled with humorous gaggles of geese, tenacious tomcats, and boisterous bullfrogs; it is beautifully woven with the important theme of acceptance and love.

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An Update On Doings At the Palace

Silly People, Public Policy, Politics-Tosa, Mayor Didier

From the Wauwatosa GOP website is the following tidbit-

Alderman Jackie Jay has drafted and will present to the legislation committee on Tuesday, July 14th, a referendum:

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Comparison of Salary Information for Teachers and Protective Services Employees with Resident Household Income

I’ve modified the previously published report on salaries and benefits to reflect that the data on resident salary is in fact household income. Household income consists of the income reported single and married filing jointly.

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