Fun Archives

Many years ago I decided to stop watching Packers games and only watch any NFC Championship games and Super Bowl games they play in.

Watching regularly was too stressful (all those Favre interceptions) and I just gradually lost interest in watching men play a boy’s game and get paid millions for it.

Besides, living in Wisconsin, I’m usually all too aware of what the Packers are up to, even when I don’t watch.

But a recent New Yorker article listed some cool things about the Packers and why they are the only team worth paying attention to:

* The Packers are the only football team owned by their fans (112,000 of them, to be precise).

* They are located in Green Bay, which has a population of only 101,000, and not in the larger, hipper, shinier city of Milwaukee.

* The Packers GM gets to make decisions without a millionaire owner breathing down his neck and has had the freedom to do things like ditch Brett Favre in favor of Aaron Rodgers.

* Volunteers work the concession stands at home games and 60% of the proceeds go to charity.

* Volunteers remove the snow from the field before home games (imagine the response Jerry Jones would get if he asked for volunteers).

* The beer is cheaper than at other stadiums.

* Every home game has been sold out for two decades.

* Unlike other NFL teams, which tax their local communities and then keep the profits for themselves, the Packers actually aid their local community by not draining it of resources.

Now that I know these cool deets about the Packers, and now that I’ve seen how Aaron Rodgers doesn’t throw interceptions like Favre did, maybe, just maybe I’ll let myself watch a few more Packers games now. ;-)

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A way to slow down traffic on Winnequah Road

From Calvin & Hobbes:

Click here for more real life reproductions of Calvin & Hobbes snowmen nightmares.

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The King’s Speech: Saved by Friendship

If you’re looking for a movie to watch, I highly recommend The King’s Speech. It’s playing at the Sundance theater at Hilldale for a limited time.

It’s about King George VI (father of Queen Elizabeth II) and how he overcame a stammer after having to suddenly assume the throne following the abdication of his older brother King Edward.

Much of the movie is based on the unpublished diary entries and reports of King George’s unconventional speech therapist, Lionel Logue.

Here’s the trailer:

As you’ll see when you watch this film, friendship ends up being more important than the credentials of the speech therapist. The director, Tom Hooper, says:

What I felt the film was really about was that he was saved by friendship. Yes, it’s about a man with a stammer. But we all face blocks to becoming our better selves.

Also, the movie reminded me how much I like Beethoven’s 7th symphony. The orchestra I was part of in college performed this my freshman year. Whenever you play a piece of music it remains part of you and you recognize it in a special way when you hear it again, years later, as I did when watching this movie. I always love it when that happens. Here’s a video of this symphony:

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In which we run in bare feet at Ahuska

This afternoon I spontaneously suggested to three of my daughters that we go running in bare feet at an Ahuska soccer field.

Of course they were shocked at this suggestion, yet quickly agreed to it.

I came up with this idea because I’m almost finished with the book Born to Run.

The author discusses the Tarahumara tribe (check out this 10 minute video about them here) in a remote area in northern Mexico, where they routinely run 100 or more miles at a time in bare feet or makeshift sandals.

He also presents evidence that our bodies were designed for long distance running and that before the creation of the running shoe in 1971, running injuries weren’t common like they are now.

When you wear running shoes, your heel hits the ground first, whereas when you run in bare feet, the padded middle portion of your foot hits the ground first, which is easier on your feet.

I decided to see for myself what it’s like to run in bare feet. I have no memories of running like this as a child because I always dutifully wore my PF Flyers when going outside to play.

So off I went to the soccer field with my daughters.

We ran 125 yards or so and my 15 year old said it was “exhilarating.” She never uses that word when she talks about running laps in her Nikes at tennis practice – that is always drudgery for her. She has fond memories of running barefoot as a child and was happy to experience it again.

We turned around and ran the 125 yards back to our shoes, which we reluctantly put back on. It was definitely more effortless than running in shoes and I hope it created a fun memory for the girls.

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Inexpensive things to do with kids near Monona

There’s less than a month left until the start of school (yikes), so if you’re looking for some things to do with the kids that don’t require driving a long distance from Monona, here are a few things we’ve discovered this summer.

Last weekend we noticed Bernie’s Beach in Madison’s Bay Creek Neighborhood was open for swimming. So I took some of my kids there on Sunday afternoon.

They’ve taken measures to remove algae and swimming ropes were up. There’s a lifeguard on duty every afternoon.

This was a nostalgia visit for us because we lived in the Bay Creek Neighorhood for most of the 1990s. I like the view of the Capitol and the beach wasn’t crowded. It’s also free. It was nice to give my kids a taste of what old-fashioned lake swimming is like.

Bouncy Town USA in Windsor is a fun way for kids up to the age of 12 to burn off some energy on a rainy (or overly hot) summer day.

There are several bouncy castle type things and parents can sit in a lounge that has free WiFi. Admission is free for parents and $6.95 per child.

Mandt Park Swimming Pond (the “Mud Hole”) in Stoughton is another way to have that old-fashioned swimming experience, but with chlorinated water.

Ironically, I had never been to the Mud Hole before even though I grew up in Stoughton. I went there twice with my kids and other relatives in July and enjoyed sitting in the large shady area while the kids played on the beach and enjoyed the two water slides.

The rate is $2.95 for non-residents and there’s no charge for those of us who don’t swim but just sit in the shade. The rates are lower for kids, if I recall correctly.

We also went to Noah’s Ark in Wisconsin Dells while entertaining relatives from out of town. The Noah’s Ark passes at Monona Community Center are $9 cheaper ($28 instead of $37), so I recommend getting Dells passes there.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

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Pac-Man got a lot of attention recently on its 30th birthday, when Google made Pac Man its logo for the day.

Ms. Pac-Man deserves the spotlight too and was my preferred arcade game back in the day. Fortunately Red Robin in Monona provides a way for us Ms. Pac-Man fans to indulge ourselves.

Those of you under the age of 35 probably prefer video games and would claim that they require more sophisticated skills. Fine.

But if I ever have a game room someday, I want it to have a Ms. Pac-Man machine (preferably a cocktail table version), along with a pinball machine, tangerine orange pool table and vintage foosball machine. No video games for me.

Red Robin in Monona has a Ms. Pac-Man machine so whenever I visit there I like to end the visit with a round of Ms. Pac-Man.

It takes me straight back to my college days at UW when I was fairly proficient at Ms. Pac-Man because the Brat und Brau on Regent Street had a  Ms. Pac-Man cocktail table game. It looked a lot like this one. Oh how I’d love to own that but, yikes, it’s $3000.

Because we were poor college students we’d get the free popcorn and order cottage fries and soda for dinner, served in those cool Brat und Brau glass mugs and play Ms. Pac-Man. Ah the good old days. I’m glad Red Robin lets me relive that a little.

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Do you think he signed up for swimming lessons?

Of course this reminds me of that old “A duck walks into a bar” joke. Here’s a video that is a fun take on that joke, using a lemonade stand instead of a bar. A teenager made this video using drawings he made in Paint and it’s very popular on YouTube (well over 7 million views) and my kids like it too:

Photo credit: Tom Mulroe

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