Friday, January 13, 2006


I suppose I should say something about myself, before I forget it. Rather than rehash some stories that will appear in later posts, I'll just copy my bio from CLASSMATES.COM.

As of the end of 2005, I've traveled to 48 states. My two-year-old has been in 44. My 10-month-old has been in 25. All have been for leisure.
I attended Woodstock '94 (with a VIP pass).
I met my wife on AOL.We have four cats and 1 dog.We have three big screen TV's.
We installed a pool at our old house. Our new house doesn't have one... yet.
I currently keep in contact with no one from the class of 1989. Although I'm still best friends with Jeff Messerman - who would have graduated with us, had he not moved.
I still have a full head of hair.
We've been to Hawaii three times, with a fourth trip coming up in March, 2006.
We have two daughters.

My wife is six years younger than me. She went to school in Milwaukee, and was the captain of her cheerleading squad. How on Earth did I get so lucky?
I graduated from UWGB in 1996.
My wife got her Master's Degree in 2004.
I used to work at T&R Video.
I was an extra on a TV show.
Juliette Lewis is very friendly.
I've seen Don Ho in concert.
I've seen Paul McCartney twice.
I never met them, but I've seen Bill Clinton and George W. Bush with my naked eye.
I've twice held my breath for three minutes, 20 seconds.
My wife and I are hooked on Survivor.
At L.B. Clarke, Mr. Fencl once choked me.Mr. Kern said he wanted to "beat the shit out of me."
Mr. Wood once threw a throwing star at me. (He missed).
Mr. Wheeler accused me of stealing his final exam at the end of our freshman year. (I didn't do it). It must have irked him when I became friends with his son.Despite the accusation, Mr. Wheeler was a nice guy.
I love the Brewers and Packers.
I was not the nicest of persons as a kid. I'm very nice now - but shy.
I no longer have a "bowl" haircut.
I have my freshman year ID in my wallet.

My parents live in Manitowoc.
I have over 2000 DVD's.
In my entire life, I've been drunk about 30 times.
I surprised my wife with a renewal of our vows, on our fifth anniversary.
My wife and I have had sex in 25 states - including Kansas and Nebraska.
My wife is a stay-at-home mom.
My wife has a side business selling natural baby stuff.
My wife has a more lucrative side business selling sex toys.
Mr. Vogt kept a bottle of booze in his desk drawer. He would pour himself a drink while yelling at me.
I have a tattoo of a walrus on my upper arm. I got it in Hawaii.

My wife has two tattoos on her stomach.
I almost joined the Navy in 1989.
We own four timeshares.
We swam with dolphins on our honeymoon.
I was practically a mute in highschool.
In highschool, many people thought I was both a heavy drug user and a satanist. Both accusations were highly exaggerated. Although I never did anything to dispel the rumors.
Jason Krings was cool.
After college, I spent two years as a collector/repo man in Milwaukee's inner city. You haven't lived, until you've pushed your way past a group of strung-out crackheads, into a crackhouse, in order to repossess a stereo - or living room set.
I once climbed onto the grave of William Howard Taft.
Surprisingly, I lost my virginity at the age of 14. I told no one.
In our junior year, Mr. Otto kicked me out of his class. He made me follow him down the hall, up to the second floor. And as we passed Mr. Wood's office he said "This is where I should be taking you. But I'm taking you to a counselor. And believe me, you need counseling!" When we got to Mr. Boehlke's office, he sat me down in a chair. Then he went off on some sort of bizarre tirade about hippies in the 1960's throwing horse shit on police cars, and how they're now yuppies making $70,000/year jobs. He carried on for a couple of minutes, then left. Mr. Boehlke and I looked at each other in stunned silence. Then the normally reserved Boehlke burst out laughing. He then said to me "Mr. Otto has to kick someone out of class maybe once every five years. Congratulations!" Five minutes later, I was back in class, with no repercussions.


At Thu Jan 26, 10:31:00 PM PST, Blogger the_meff said...

This'll be fun. I get to tee off on you. Excellent!

Quite simply, you were a legend to me right away. In fourth grade you were instantly known as the "one to avoid" if you wanted to keep your nose clean. Since I was a bit of a goody-good at that time, I did.

I think in sixth grade, you and I spoke in passing but it wasn't until seventh that we started to yak regularly.

The maze craze was big. Since the last thing anyone wanted to do at Clarke was study, we elevated beings would draw intricate, looping mazed in our notebooks then challenge each other. In Stodola's class, you sauntered up to my desk and began a guided tour through one of your creations. Stodola began instruction for the day. This, however, did not daunt you a bit. In full voice, you continued the presentation.

And here's me, in a hissed panic..."Shut up, shut the hell up, go away..." Stodola, of course, blew a fuse, barked at you, then blamed me! Victim's rights, I say!

It was, of course, in retrospect, hilarious and brilliant and a wonderful disrespect for authority. A great slap in the chops to what could be considered a holier-than-thou goofball.

But that's what you excelled at. You rankled everyone. Nobody was safe. And, best of all, the shit you did just didn't-make-frickin'-sense!!! I guess your antics would have to be categorized as sublime - - totally stupid yet utterly brilliant.

I'll never forget the first day I went to your house. Now, prior to you, I had a pretty milk-and-cookies life. But day 1 at your house and I'm seeing a bedroom full of Atari (great!), a cat-castle made of cut-up cardboard boxes which was, at best, unstable (weird!), and, at some key moment during an Atari game, you began to inexplicably hurl out TR Hot Lunch hamdingers or fish sticks or whatever, laughing hysterically as you did so (disturbing!)

I really can't tell you how horrified my folks were about your presence in my life. I even think to this day they are biased. When your name comes up, I swear, I see my Mom quietly, inwardly shudder.

I must reassure all readers of this blog at this time. Trust me, Burt has become, dare I say, a relatively normal and functional member of society. He has a really cool wife and his oldest daughter and my oldest daughter are thicker than thieves when they see each other.

What's really funny is that when Em and Ab get together, they play, they laugh, they get in these little sisterly spats. And I watch both our wives try to intervene and act all parental and make them behave and try to understand them....

Don't bother, ladies.

His makes mine crazy, mine makes his crazy, but in the end they always seem to be great friends.

Believe me, it's all VERY familiar!

At Thu Jan 26, 10:32:00 PM PST, Blogger the_meff said...

By the way, in paragraph 4, the word is "mazes" not "mazed."

I gotta' stop typing these at midnight!

At Fri Jan 27, 08:59:00 AM PST, Blogger HappyMama said...

I think it's time for me to comment. I've been lurking for the most part, but it seems appropriate to chime in at this time.

Burt and I actually met on AOL. I posted an ad for a pen-pal, and found a husband.

We started off as immediate best-friends-with-benefits, because that's who I was back then, and that was fine with me. But stubborn, determined Burt would not have that for very long. You would think I stole his innocence and he wanted me to make an honest man out of him.

No, he just loved me. And if I didn't love him back, then I was SOL. Believe it or not, he was someone I wanted/needed in my life and couldn't let him get away. Well, I convinced him to hang around for awhile (and still expected him to be comfortable with me going out with other guys), and despite Jeff's unfounded, but obvious, dislike for me and Burt's other friends warnings that I would break his heart, he stuck it out. (And Jeff came around eventually. Right, Jeff?)

We were engaged within a few months, and then living together in Grafton. We married in 2000. Had our first daughter in '03, and our second in '05. Had he had it his way, one of them would have been named Jennifer. Coincidence? No.

Now, I had always been made privvy to the exploits of his childhood - how could I not know? His mother would often "predict" how our children would turn out based on the behaviour of her one-and-only boy. But, there are things that I TRULY had/have no wish to know, like defecation tales. It wasn't until about 4 or so years into our marriage that he told me about the time he microwaved feces (and this was only because Jeff's wife knew of it and mentioned it to me). And it wasn't until this blog that I knew about the Wrath Of Burt being brought down upon poor Mrs. Strouf. I have to say that I could have lived my whole life and never have heard those stories. I maintain that I do not have a colon, so I cannot appreciate fecal humor.

Humor, though, is one of the key things that Burt (and truth-be-told, Jeff) has really brought into my life. While Burt remains a Happy Funster, he complements my dry, singular wit. That's a little inside joke, dear readers, but you get the idea. Anyway, our life is full of laughs, great conversation, and anecdotes about strangers in airports and restaurants.

We travel quite a bit and I credit Burt for that. When Burt wants something, he goes for it and usually gets it. I love that about him. I can count on that.

I love that his best friend's wife is one of my best friends. I love that we've had our babies (all girls... so far) one right after the other. I love that, while he is more "normal" around me, when he gets on the phone with Meff, I can totally witness a return to the 80s and their juvenile language and interests. It's like being in a time warp.

I know he was a strange kid in school, and believe me, I probably would not have given him a second look back then (not that I was snobby, but it was apparent he had a lack of interest in himself and that didn't interest me), but it is really too bad that he was misjudged so badly because knowing him now makes for an interesting life. He has remnants of his childhood, obsessive little collections, binders full of information, as well as one amazing memory. At least the memory doesn't take up space.

I have been introduced to a life beyond romantic comedies. Thank goodness! While I cannot appreciate such cinematic brilliance as Bloodsucking Freaks, my taste in all-things pop culture has really evolved. I credit him (and again, Jeff) for that.

He is one of the most hard-working lazy people I've ever met. He is brilliant, quiet around most, and very thoughtful and kind - unless provoked - and he would do anything for our little family. He deals with my idiosyncracies, and I with his. We work well together. He doesn't bat an eye when I get some crazy idea, business or otherwise. I don't always "get" him, but that's okay. Life is interesting.

By the way, he doesn't smoke pot or drop acid. He gets drunk about once a year and becomes quite talkative. If you want to know Burt, give him a Blue Devil. One oughta do it.

I don't know if any of this information would embarass him, but I don't think holding back is what this blog is about.

I look forward to hearing more stories of the life of Class of 89 (I was still in middle school then), and the comments and contradictions and everything else that you all have to offer.


At Fri Jan 27, 09:33:00 AM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Who said that?

Key dates of interest:

3/28/98 - "Met" online
3/29/05 - Phone sex
4/5/98 - Met in person
4/5/98 - Real sex
8/16/98 - Became a couple
9/26/98 - Got engaged
6/3/00 - Got married
3/10/03 - Had a baby
2/20/05 - Had another baby
1/21/06 - Went to Ponderosa for dinner. I love them chicken wings!

For the record, I don't think my liking of the name "Jennifer" had anything to do with Jenny Malley. Although, I will admit that it didn't hurt. Had the lovely Jennifer been an obnoxious cow or something, it probably would have soiled the name for me. But no, the lovely Jenny Malley was no such thing.

Man, I suddenly feel like Rosie O'Donnell, with her obsession with Tom Cruise!

At Mon Jan 30, 10:00:00 AM PST, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

Burt, I like your wife. She stuck up for my mom...and she said some really nice things about you too, and she stuck up for my mom...did I say that already?. You are a lucky man.

At Tue Jan 31, 02:36:00 PM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

I like her too. I'm a very lucky guy.

By the way, I just noticed a typo. The date should read 3/29/98, NOT 3/29/05.

At Tue Jan 31, 03:35:00 PM PST, Blogger jenny said...

burt, i once saw you doug wall naked running around on your roof...hee heee. (I was hanging out at lisa's house)

At Tue Jan 31, 05:50:00 PM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

You have got to be kidding! I will say this. I'm not saying that I was never naked on my garage roof. (I have always had a sort of fascination with exhibionism). But if in fact you saw two people, the people you saw were Doug Wall and Chris Storlie. When I get to writing about Doug, that story will go in.

At Tue Jan 31, 07:51:00 PM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

On second thought, it was me you saw. So fair is fair. It's now time for you and Lisa to show off the goods. Lisa's hasn't shown up yet. So I guess the burden is all on you.

Just kidding... maybe.

Did you know that my next door neighbor called the police on them? Brian Belongia also saw them.

At Tue Feb 14, 05:47:00 PM PST, Blogger mimikatemom said...

Hello again :) enjoying your posts as much as ever...this hasn't been brought up and I can't remember but maybe I should. Did you and I work at TR Video at the same time? I worked there but for the life of me I can't remember exactly when. I think it may have been before you. I also have to confess I got nosey for a picture...since you haven't been brave enough yet ;) and I found the ones of your girls that your wife posted. Very precious...hope you don't mind.

At Tue Feb 14, 06:07:00 PM PST, Blogger mimikatemom said...

P.S. My friend Stan the Man might be offended you said he was dead. Not to my knowledge or were you testing my Cardinal smarts? Maybe you were thinking about Jack Buck, the longtime announcer. He passed in 2004 within days of pitcher Daryl Kile.

At Tue Feb 14, 06:56:00 PM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Shit, you're right! I was thinking about Jack Buck.

Tidbit - when Stan Musial retired, (around 1960 or so) he was 2nd all-time on baseball's hit list behind Ty Cobb. He still ranks 4th today. And out of his 3630 hits, 1815 of them came at home. And 1815 were hit on the road. Now THAT'S consistency!

No, we never worked together at T&R Video. In fact, I'd forgtten about that. But I do have a vague memory of you behind the counter. I started in January, 1990.

Actually, there is a photo of me. It's in Tom Grassman's entry. It was taken 11 days ago. You can't miss it.

Aren't my girls angels? :)

At Thu Feb 16, 07:36:00 AM PST, Blogger mimikatemom said...

Yes, you should add those to your profile :)

Maybe you took my place then because I moved to MKE in Sept. 89. I must have worked there our senior year. After I tendered my resignation at McDonalds...movin'on up!

At Thu Feb 16, 07:57:00 AM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

I'm holding off for the moment. We just had some pictures taken of them at Walmart. I had planned to use one of them. We just haven't gotten them back yet. But when they're up, I'll announce it.

At Thu Feb 23, 02:13:00 PM PST, Blogger Tammy said...

Hey Burt,
my parents owned T&R Video for a while. when did you work there?
This is really a cool idea, I love reading about everyone and for the most part you remember us all pretty well! Look forward to more!

At Thu Feb 23, 02:32:00 PM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

I worked there from 1990-1997, for the original owner. Are you related to Tim Swoboada? He lived upstairs. He owned it for awhile.

At Fri Feb 24, 06:58:00 AM PST, Blogger Tammy said...

Yep Tim is my uncle and he still lives up there. Great guy. He either did or is planning to aquire the T&R part of that building as well and use it for a photo studio I believe.

At Mon Apr 04, 01:02:00 AM PDT, Blogger Davina said...

Hmmm... I came across your blog about Dav Kanera. I was actually dating him in 2006 when you wrote this blog. In a way you sound envious of him for being a free loving, live in the moment, make other people laugh type of person. You strike my as the quiet, cynical, stoic, judgmental type. And, a self proclaimed mute no less. The way you try to trump yourself up and brag about your accomplishments, while belitteling and dissing others is quite sad. You could learn something from Dav; A positive, upbeat, fun man who expresses himself in the moment, instead of writing out endless frustrations years later.

At Mon Apr 04, 06:59:00 AM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Ah Davina, I haven't left a comment on this blog in a couple of years. But I thought I'd address your thoughts.

I love Dave Kanera! He and I had a chance to hang out and talk at the reunion. And he couldn't have been more charming. He told me how much he enjoyed this blog, and kept saying, "If you can't laugh at yourself..." Now THAT is the attitude I love. Dave gets it.

Was I fan of Dave Kanera back when we were kids? Clearly no. I thought he was a dick. But I was a dick too. So what.

I wish there were more people in the world like him.

At Mon Apr 04, 11:41:00 PM PDT, Blogger Davina said...

I imagined that Dav would laugh if he read it and say it was great, so that's funny!
Sorry for the rant, I was just defending a friend.
Take care-

At Wed Apr 06, 03:24:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

for being such a fucking dweeb back in the day u sure seem to like faulting other people to the extent that if we should meet it would not be good for you!!!!

At Wed Apr 06, 03:25:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

for being such a fucking dweeb back in the day u sure seem to like faulting other people to the extent that if we should meet it would not be good for you!!!!

At Wed Apr 06, 04:47:00 PM PDT, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

I'm still a dweeb stranger. Let's meet. But no fighting.


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