Hat’s Off!

24 Jul

In my last post, I talked about being up in the North Woods of Wisconsin. Minocqua. Woodruff. Lac du Flambeau. Boulder Junction. Great time. Beautiful country.

One really neat – old – place is Voss’s Birchwood Lodge in Manitowish Waters. This place hearkens back to 1910. John Dillinger and his pals drank beer in the bar and were probably responsible for some of the cigarette burns in the woodwork.  The original owner was the one who blew the whistle on Dillinger’s gang.  And FBI agents gathered there before the assault on Little Bohemia which is down the road.  Wonderful history. Today’s crowd is more peaceful. And civil.  But not necessarily civilized.

When I was growing up, I remember my father always telling me to “take off” my hat – when going in any public place. And I did.  My buddies did too.  It was a lesson we all learned.  Once, when I was not quick enough, a Scout leader slapped the brim of my hat sending it flying.  But today, it seems like a lot of young men – and even a few older guys - are not getting the message. 

Posted at the entry to the dining room at Voss’s Lodge is a sign directing men to take off their hats. We walked in for breakfast one morning and sure enough there are two men sitting there with their Green Bay Packer hats perched squarely on their heads. Men.  I looked at them and there was not much of a spark looking back.  If you get my drift. . . .  Next time I see some character with his hat on in a restaurant, there may be a temptation to walk over.  And send it flying.

Bald Eagles

20 Jul

We spent a relaxing weekend with friends in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin. Golf, great food, fine wine, nice company, the North Woods. And then there was fishing.  In my posts of June 28, 2012, and July 23, 2013, I talked about being up North and fishing for walleye with our guide Jim W.  Well, this time was no different.  Dan and I went out early with Jim – who is probably the best fishing guide in the Minocqua area. 

The fishing wasn’t as keen as in previous years (we did have enough “keepers” for dinner) but what made this outing special was seeing Bald Eagles.  In a veritable abundance.  I feel I need to capitalize the words of that species just because. . . . well, you know.  I have seen an occasional Bald Eagle in the past but our time on Lake Tomahawk on Saturday was amazing.  We probably saw half a dozen Bald Eagles.  Soaring above.  Diving for fish.   I felt very patriotic sharing space with these symbols of America.  And there were loons galore.  Having seen a fox at Minocqua Country Club the day before and several deer, I have to wonder what’s around the corner.  Maybe a donkey.  And an elephant?   Please spare me. . . . .

My Biggest Case

17 Jul

When I was a young(er) lawyer, my father got a speeding ticket. “I wasn’t speeding” he protested. “I wanna fight this thing. You wanna be my lawyer?” he asked me.  I’d never handled a speeding ticket but I said “sure, Dad.”

So on the appointed day of the court hearing for my father’s speeding ticket, we showed up and sat toward the back of the courtroom. The room was crowded and people milled around. The judge entered. Everyone rose. And the judge got down to business – “anyone who wants to plead guilty, I’m willing to give you supervision – which means you pay a fine but if you get no ticket in the next six months, the conviction is wiped out.” The judge directed those interested toward a window where they would pay a fine but get their “supervision.” My father – who had been deaf since World War Two – didn’t hear but I knew he wasn’t interested (“I wanna fight this thing“).

After a while, my father’s case was called and I took my father’s arm, stood – and we walked to the front. And stepped before the judge. “Good morning, your Honor” I said. “My name is Scott Petersen and I’m here representing the defendant Peter Petersen.” The judge got a glint in his eye and looked at me. Smiling. “Is he your father?” “Yes Your Honor” I replied seriously. The judge chuckled. Looked at the ticket and said “case dismissed.” I thanked the judge for this amazing gift – and started to lead my father away.  He pulled back - “wait I wanna say . . . ” “DAD” I hissed – and put a finger to my lips.  

I’ve had a few cases in my career but none that gave me the satisfaction of that one. Once outside the courtroom, I explained that the case had been dismissed.  He smiled.  “You’re pretty good,” he said. Yep.

No Names

13 Jul

In my post of May 2, 2013 (“Breakfast Tips“), I talked about how when going out for breakfast, the gratuity I leave is always more – percentagewise – than when going out for dinner. Why? Simply because your bill for breakfast may be six bucks. What are you going to do — leave 90 cents? Your wait staff deserves better.

Anywayyyyy, fast forward.  Speaking of wait staff — we go out with different friends for dinner on a fairly regular basis. We always have a great time.  Except. . . . . when Donna tells me we’re going out with ___ and ___ I inevitably ask – “do we have to?” The reason is that the woman is frequently downright nasty to wait staff.  Demanding. Condescending. Pick out a few similar adjectives.  I have no idea why.  It makes me very uncomfortable and tends to put a cloud on the dinner. 

When I was growing up (Donna is still waiting for that to happen), I was inculcated with the mantra of “being nice” to people. The vast majority of our friends are courteous and friendly to those who serve them. But there is one.  Donna’s been suggesting that we go out with this couple for the last year or two.  My usual response is – how about November 12, 2018?  Oh wait.  That’s the day I have to clean the birdbath. 

Kim Jong Un

10 Jul

Kim Jong Un is the 31 year old leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (aka “North Korea”). He is the son of Kim Jong il and the grandson of Kim il Sung (his predecessors). This 31 year old whiz kid is President of the country and head of the military. And he controls every aspect of life in the “Hermit Kingdom.”

Those who cross Kim Jong Un learn quickly. Then they die.  He has caused to disappear scores of his own family members. He is reputed to have fed his uncle – Jang Song Thaek – to a large pack of dogs who had not been fed for several days. He keeps his 24.7 million people on a starvation diet.  And his people die like flies.  And he doesn’t care.   There are increased rumblings at the top.  And factions.  Dice are rolling.  The knives are out.  On March 14, 2013, Kim was the target of an assassination attempt.  And survived.  Keep watching the news in the coming weeks.   

Last week (July 8th), some rare footage of Kim Jong Un made its way to the West.  It shows Kim Jong Un limping.  Struggling to walk (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdGozD6cIGE ).   Yet a bare thousand views.  I wonder how it happened.  Shooting hoops with Dennis Rodman?  Poor guy.  Gosh – I sure hope it’s serious. . . .

I Am Always Right

6 Jul

I am always right. On everything. In fact, I am never wrong. My views are always – always – correct. On politics, religion, social issues, economics, the law, ethnic issues, people, movies and golf courses. If you disagree with me. You are wrong. You are obviously uneducated (some of the most well-schooled people are hopelessly uneducated.  Or fools). So if you want to know the right path, the right opinion, the right way to believe — just give me a call or send me an email. Because I have a righteous mind.

The Righteous Mind is a wonderful book by Jonathan Haidt.  It is a New York Times bestseller which explores why people are fundamentally intuitive – and not rational.  The book suggests that our views (whether political, social, religious or whatever) are hardwired into us.  You were never designed to listen to reason — only to respond with your preconceived notions and (often false) beliefs.  When you ask people moral questions and time their responses, you see that they reach conclusions quickly.  And they produce reasons – later – only to justify what they’ve already decided.  We often acquire morality (theories on right and wrong – and “justice”) the way we acquire food preferences.  If it tastes good, we stick with it.  Interestingly this bestseller suggests that conservatives are more broad-minded than liberals since they receive a more varied diet of information.  And are more receptive to it.    

Haidt’s comments often sound cynical and yet if you follow the narration, you learn (if you don’t have a closed mind) that Haidt is really seeking enlightenment.  He wants you to open your minds to the moral intuitions of other people.  

If you don’t want to read this book, you are probably a lost soul.   But if you do, you may still have hope.  And if you want to know what’s right – and what’s wrong – just let me know.  I can tell you.  And will.  I have a righteous mind.     

Anaphylaxis

3 Jul

A few weeks ago, Lauren and Trent took our granddaughter Eve out for a treat. They went to a bakery and ordered a coconut cookie. They were assured that there were no nuts in the cookie. Eve took a bite. And within minutes her face turned red.  Her body began to turn red.  And she began to swell. Here eyes began to swell shut. And Lauren and Trent raced to a hospital ER where Eve was whisked into a treatment room and given a shot with an EpiPen. And things began to calm.

Many children of late are developing allergies. Eve has a peanut allergy. And now we know — a coconut allergy.  And the allergy is serious.  For a child or adult with such allergies, eating the wrong food can bring on life-threatening anaphylaxis.  Anaphylaxis can be triggered by foods (e.g. peanuts or shellfish), biting or stinging insects, medication (e.g. penicillin), latex or other causations.   Anaphylaxis affects people differently.  The airway is often affected, there is swelling, chest pain, low blood pressure, dizziness and in some cases the result can be fatal.  Emergency treatment is essential.  For parents of children with allergies, an EpiPen is standard equipment.  I carry one in my briefcase – to work.  Along with Benedryl (another potential antidote) and aspirin (see October 21, 2011).  What you need to know about EpiPens is — the dosage only lasts for about 15 minutes.  And then the allergic reaction resumes.  We have friends who – when traveling – will carry 8 EpiPens for their child.  Enough to get them to an emergency room.  Apart from the ER or an EpiPen, there’s not much you can do when anaphylactic  shock begins to set in.    Benadryl (an antihistamine) can help but reaction time is usually much too slow for the sudden onset of anaphylaxis.  If you have a child (or know someone) who has such allergies, the best thing is to carry an EpiPen — and know where the nearest ER is located.   

 

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