Friday, December 22, 2006


Yes indeed, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and for Meff, Happy Hanukkah!

Before I relate a couple of Christmas stories, I'd like all of my readers to check out Greg Pagel's blog. It's linked on the right side of this page. He has a really cool Christmas story. Check it out.

When I was really little, perhaps three or four, we were spending Christmas at my grandparents' home in Royal Oak, Michigan. On Christmas Eve, I had been put to bed. At some point in the night, I heard a noise. I'm not sure if I hadn't yet fallen asleep, or if I was awoken in the night. But I heard a noise above me. It was clearly coming from the roof. I heard what I thought were footsteps. I was sure that Santa had arrived! How exciting! The next day, there were lots of presents. That clinched it. I'd heard Santa! Years later I asked my parents if they'd gone up on the roof to make some noise. They hadn't. So to this day, I'm convinced that what I heard was indeed Santa Claus. No one will convince me otherwise.

A few years later, I believe when I was in first grade, we were spending Christmas at our own home in Manitowoc. Now I knew the drill. Santa only brings presents to good little boys and girls. So I was scared. I knew that I hadn't exactly been a good boy that year. If you read one of my entries on myself, you'll see the story about how my friend Carl and I had broken into a guy's garage, and smashed up the car windshield. We'd gotten away with it. But Santa knows... As Christmas approached, I was very worried. I went to bed on Christmas Eve expecting the worst. At some point in the night, I woke up. The house was quiet. I crept out of bed and tiptoed down the stairs. I opened the door to the living room and found... a room overflowing with presents! It was as if the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. As I walked back up the stairs, I quietly commented to myself, "I can do anything!" A few days ago my wife asked me what I would have done, had there been little or no presents. My response was, "I probably would have shaped up." Then again, saying it and doing it are two different things.I probably wouldn't have. In fact, I may have been worse, as that incident probably would have scarred me for life.

In the spirit of the season, combined with my recent love for Youtube, here are some of my favorite Christmas songs. The first one is my all-time favorite. It's Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time."

For my lovely wife, here is her favorite Christmas song. Like mine, hers is from another ex-Beatle. It's John Lennon's "Happy Xmas, War Is Over."

This next song is more in the spirit of this blog. I take you back to 1981, to the early days of MTV - when MTV was cool! This song has really grown on me in recent years. And it may actually surpass McCartney's song for my all-time favorite. It's Billy Squier (and the MTV staff) singing "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You."

This next song is also one of my favorites. It's "Father Christmas" by The Kinks. I just love the lyrics.

Father Christmas, give us some money.
Don't mess around with those silly toys.
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over.
We want your bread so don't make us annoyed.
Give all the toys to the little rich boys.

Isn't that cool? I actually found the original video on Youtube. But the sound and video quality were poor. So instead, I found the song used with a bunch of clips from Christmas episodes of "That 70's Show."

Lastly, this is a Christmas present to my readers. This next clip is that of fellow graduate Meff (Jeff Messerman). A few days ago I uploaded a clip of he and I, and another friend of ours lip-syncing "Wild Thing." Well, truth be told, there was another lip-syncing performance that day. In this one, Meff was flying solo. Back in October, 2000, Meff's wife was planning a surprise 30th birthday party for him. Little did she know that I had another surprise. I dug out this old video and played it at the party, much to the delight of all who attended. Meff just cringed. But if you know Meff, you know he didn't really care, and got a good laugh out of it as well. As his mother stared at the TV screen in disbelief, Meff said to her, "Remember all those times I went to Two Rivers? Well this is what I was doing." A year later, at my surprise 30th birthday party, the video made an appearance again.

About a week ago, I was talking to Meff. For some reason, I completely blanked out, and couldn't remember the name of the Elvis song he had lip-synced. So I asked him. His reply to me was, "Oh God..." He knew exactly what I was going to do. At that point he suggested that I only play part of the song. But honestly, once people have seen just a part of it, what more is there to hide? Besides, several months ago, Meff chided me for not blogging about a particular story I had which involved Scott Jaklin. He played the "journalistic integrity" card. And he had a point. So with that in mind, here is the entire clip. Is it funny? Yes. But it's also well done. Here's Meff with his performance of Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds."

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Mr. Schwantes (Ken) was a teacher at Washington High School. I had him during my senior year for some sort of psychology or sociology class. I think it was sociology actually. But I think he may have also taught some history classes to freshman and sophomores. I know he did teach freshman. I never had him as a freshman though.

I believe that for many years, Schwantes had a Rollie Fingers-type moustache. But during my senior year, I don't think he had it anymore.

Schwantes was a popular guy. In fact, he may have been the most popular teacher in school. Why? Becasue he would talk about anything. And he could spend entire class periods talking about it. If the students could get him off the subject of the class, and onto something else, they might be rewarded with a discussion that could last the entire period. Be it baseball, politics, abortion, movies, television... anything! He could go on forever.

Schwantes was no pushover. He knew exactly what he was doing. And he would even comment that students routinely come into class and say to each other, "What can we get Schwantes to talk about today?" But there was a method to his madness. He defended his social discussions as something kids needed to grow. And he was right. The overall atmosphere made learning (when we did learn stuff) quite easy. I'd bet the failure rate for his classes was extremely low.

Schwantes had a lot of stories. One of his favorites was when a student from years past came in with his checkbook and tried to bribe him for a good grade. For the record, Schwantes refused the offer.

Schwantes also mentioned the time a certain girl (again, in years past) would wear a really short skirt, (with no underwear) and would sit in the front row and flash him. As Schwantes said, "You could see right up to her oh-my-gosh!" I guess teaching has certain perks.

Schwantes also told us that during the previous year, he taught a class. And on every Monday morning, these two senior girls (who he refused to name) would come in and meet each other, and ask each other whether either of them had "gotten any" over the weekend. He said they were a little too loud with their talk. Apparently other poeple heard too. Because a few of the students in our class knew exactly which two students he was talking about. The two students were allegedly (again, according to a few of the students in our class, Craig Rysticken for one) class of 1988's Lori Gagnon and Angie Algozine. If memory serves, I think they were both cheerleaders.

One of my favorite stories was when he spoke about class of 1987's Laura Ledvina. Laura was a girl who had some really funky hair. She was a cute girl actually. She was always smiling. But it was often hard to notice because your glance always went to her hair. I don't know what she did with it. But she somehow made it stand up in a great big pile on her head. Picture Marge Simpson, only not quite as large, and a lot less blue. That was Laura. Anyway, Schwantes was fascinated by her. He was so impressed with her. Clearly she wanted attention. And her hair provided that. People would often stop and just look at her. And she would just smile, and walk on by with her head held high. She was clearly confident. I never knew Laura myself. But I wish I would have. She seemed like a fascinating person. Schwantes was dead-on accurate with his description. Incidentally, I believe Laura lives in Arizona today. And I believe she's a jazz musician.

I also recall Schwantes telling us a story about two guys who attempted a social experiment years earlier. On a whim, they decided to hold hands when they walked out of class and headed towards their next class. Apparently they walked the halls like that. They wanted to see what reactions they would get. Apparently there were lots of stares and confused looks. I would have loved to have seen that. And no, the two guys weren't gay.

I mentioned this story in Larry Daffner's entry. But it's worth repeating. One of the guys in our class was fellow graduate David Kanera. Dave was in all his glory in that class. He was constantly yapping, and was always involved in the discussions. He thrived on attention. It's like he needed it to breathe. It was annoying as hell! Well one day Schwantes started the class and asked us what we should do that day. In referring to Dave, Larry yelled out, "Why don't we all ignore what's-his-name in the corner, and see how long it takes before he goes nuts!" I don't think most of the class understood what Larry was talking about. But I did. And I laughed my ass off.

Schwantes was the first teacher I'd ever heard use the word "fuck." Up until that point, the worst I'd ever encountered was when Mrs. Casey called me a "little shit." (Ms. Sapa once said "shit" too.) But Schwantes didn't really swear at anyone. He used the words in the context of one of his many stories. He was telling us about a student in years past who was always talking in class. Schwantes routinely had to tell him to be quiet. One day the kid snapped and said, "Everytime I open my fuckin' mouth, you tell me to shut up." Our class laughed. He defended his use of the word, stating that he was only using it in context. When asked if he punished the kid, he said no. He said the kid was simply letting off steam, and didn't mean any harm. Good man that Schwantes.

Near the end of the year, Schwantes talked about the fact that the seniors (like myself) were leaving school and going out into the real world. In doing so, he said something very interesting. He said that many seniors would prefer to keep going in school, as for the first time in their lives, the future was unknown. Bingo! This was me. I hated school. I'd hated it since I first entered kindergarten. I had drawn a calendar on the back of one of my notebooks, so I could count down the number of school days left. At any point in the second semester, I could have told you exactly what the number was. But the scary reality is that I had no plans whatsoever after high school. I wasn't interested in college. I certainly didn't want to work. It was a weird time. And Schwantes was right. Because I was one of those kids. As much as I hated school, if I could have stayed on for another year, I would have. How awful is that? I must have been a lost soul at that time. So what did happen to me? I ended up washing dishes for 10 months. That was enough to convince me that I needed to go back to school. It took a couple of shaky years to figure out how to be a real student (something I never learned growing up) but I eventually caught on, even making the Dean's List at one point. Smart man that Schwantes.

Schwantes was married to fellow teacher Carol Schwantes. But they ended up divorcing at some point. I'm quite sure Schwantes is retired today. But he still lives in Two Rivers. My thanks to Cindy Rohrer for providing this picture. It appears to have been taken back in the late-1980's, possibly during our senior year. I have no idea where it was taken though.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Here's another old camcorder clip. I believe this was shot in June, 1990. Meff and I paid a visit to the Knollwood Mausoleum out on Highway 310. Why? I have no idea. But we did. In an around the mausoleum they had this music playing, which sounded a lot like Zamfir and his magic pan flute. Inside the mausoleum was a chapel. So I decided to take the pulpit and deliver some sort of sermon. I had no idea what I was going to say. I just went up and started talking. Of course Meff didn't make it any easier for me, as he kept trying to get me to be quiet. I suppose I can understand that, as there were people around. Anyway, the clip is short. But here it is.

Monday, December 18, 2006


In going through some old camcorder tapes, I've come across some interesting stuff. Some of it I'll be sharing in the next few days. This first clip is from sometime in 1990 - probably late-spring or early-summer.

What possessed us to do this, I have no idea. This is a clip of Meff and I, along with our friend John. For those of you who grew up in Two Rivers, you may remember John. He's been spotted cruising the streets of Two Rivers in his electric wheelchair since the early-1980's. In the summer, you can still see him. Today he lives in the Hamilton Home. If you see John, say hi. He's a nice guy. Tell him you saw him on Youtube!

What more needs to be said? The clip speaks for itself. It's the three of us lip-syncing to The Troggs' "Wild Thing." And it's beyond embarrassing, for many reasons - the hair, the clothes, the whole thing in general. So why show it? Simple - because the answer is no. I have no shame.



It looks like anyone can comment anywhere. Kudos to those eggheads at internet control. Now I can speak my mind once again.

I have nothing to say.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


This was our attempt to see Chad Daffner. He wasn't home. But his neighbor, class of 1990's Sally Graczykowski was. So we stopped by to see her. For some reason, we didn't film much of here. But here's what we got.

Friday, December 15, 2006


A blogger employee responded to my post from the other day - the post I thought had been deleted. It sounds like they're working on it.


In other blog-related news, I added a brief update on Chris Thee.


Thursday, December 14, 2006


I found some 1990 camcorder footage of Scott doing his teacher impressions. I put it in his entry.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

UPDATE - 9-9-9

Three posts down from this one is yesterday's post about the 9-9-9. I found a third camcorder clip from that evening. I've added it to the post.



Last night I was able to comment in other people's blogs. Today I can't - again! What an annoyance. It seems like it's hit-or-miss with some people. Sometimes you can comment. Sometimes you can't.

Digging through the blogger.com website, I was eventually able to find myself on some sort of blogger help page. There are message boards there. I had to create a Gmail account in order to be allowed to participate in the forums. But I did. And it looks like a lot of people are having problems commenting. It's not just me and my little "blogger family" here. The link is below.

I posted a question in the "something is broken" area yesterday. I plan to follow up again today. Hopefully someone higher up will take notice. Perhaps my fellow blog owners will also complain. Eventually I'm sure it will all be fixed.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006


The video that Kevin Dehne and I shot when we visited Mr. Franke back in August can now be seen in his entry.



A few months ago, I was reading the blog of class of 1987's Gregg Novachek. He wrote about an experience he had called "The 9-9-9." What is this, you may ask? Well, it's a challenge of sorts - a challenge that is supposed to take place during a baseball game.

The challenge is this. In the course of the nine-inning game, the participant is to eat nine hot dogs (and buns) and drink nine 16-ounce beers. Gregg accomplished this feat.

I was impressed. And I wanted to try it. There's no rule that says it can't take place in your own home. So that's what I would try. Also, since I detest beer, I would substitute wine coolers. I couldn't try this feat on my own. So I enlisted Meff to join me.

Meff was reluctant about the whole thing. But in the end, he did participate. But instead of hot dogs, he substituted not one, but two Tombstone pizzas.

We chose game one of the 2006 World Series. The date was Saturday, October 21st, 2006. Exactly three weeks earlier, I'd celebrated my birthday party. On that night, I drank perhaps 14 wine coolers with relative ease. I was thoroughly smashed (after three of them). But I didn't get sick. Success! With that dry run behind me, I thought I was well prepared to beat the 9-9-9.

I was wrong. I'm sad to say I could only drink four wine coolers. Four! What the hell? On a positive note, I did manage to get all nine hot dogs in me. The last bite of number nine went down with two outs in the 9th inning.

So what happened? I have a theory. My stomach simply wasn't big enough to handle it all. Sure, I'd downed 14 wine coolers a few weeks earlier. So why only four this night? No room. It's as simple as that. Those nasty hot dogs and buns swelled in my stomach, literally leaving no room for anything else - even liquids. On the night of my birthday, all I ate was one piece of pizza and a cookie. So there was plenty of room for liquids.

So how did Meff do? He did even worse. He too only managed to finish four beers. And while he did manage to finish one whole pizza, not one bite was sunk into number two.

So we both failed. And both of us were drunk after three drinks. How pathetic is that? I guess because neither one of us drink, it took very little to get a full buzz going. As an interesting side note, in the 20+ years Meff and I have been friends, this was the first time that we had ever gotten drunk together.

Anyway, my lovely wife got out the camcorder and filmed a little bit. These clips aren't riotously entertaining. But some might get a kick out of them. So here they are, in all their glory. Clip #1 features my three-and-a-half-year-old daughter as well.


It seems like blogger.com is having some issues. I can leave comments on this blog of mine. But I can't leave comments on anyone else's. My wife (on a different computer) is having the same issue. Is anyone else having this problem?


Stacey has sent me a photo. You can see it in her entry.


Monday, December 11, 2006


I got a really nice E-mail from Amy today. She also left a comment in her entry. She's included her E-mail address. So feel free to get in touch with her, if you like. I wrote her back and asked if she had a recent picture to share. So maybe I'll have one soon.

It's espceically nice to get a friendly E-mail from someone I wasn't exactly friendly to in my description. Thank you Amy.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Thanks to Monica Knutson's comments, I was able to find two pictures of Mr. Wheeler. You can see them in his entry.


Yes indeed, she calls herself CreativeMuse. But it is in fact class of 1990's Monica Knutson. She was a bit shy at first, referring to herself as "Monz." But the more she commented, the more she revealed.

You can see her comments in the entries of Paula Jonas, Stan Conrad, Larry Daffner, Brian Klein, Jennifer Hansel, Lisa Koch, Sara Kvitek and Mr. Wheeler.

Welcome Monica!

Friday, December 08, 2006


Rumor has it that Cindy Rohrer turns 36-years-old tomorrow. And to think, the last time I actually saw her, she was 18. Wow.


Thursday, December 07, 2006


Brian Klein stopped by the blog this evening. He left a comment in his entry. Actually, it was more of a reply to Nate Walkner's comment which was left for him. We may have the beginnings of a flame war.

As for class of 1987's Gregg Novachek, I've known he's been reading for quite awhile. He finally left a comment today, in my "Note To Brad Strouf" post.

Welcome Brian & Gregg!


Egged on by Erin and myself, Brad Strouf has started his own blog. You can find it linked on the right side of this page.



I found another length article about Scott. It's from December, 2005, and discusses the jury phase of his trial.


Kudos to Brad on his neverending supply of comments. Be it here, on Erin's blog, or even on class of 1987's Gregg Novachek's blog, Brad is always around. By the way here's a link to Gregg's blog. Check it out. GREGG

So that being said, I would encourage Brad to start his own blog. Be it about life, school days, or recent busts, I think you would do well at it - even if your entries were sporadic.

Here's a little-known fact about Brad. Back in his pre-sobriety days, a heavily-intoxicated Kevin Dehne was once tackled to the ground and arrested by officers Brad Strouf and class of 1988's Erik Walters.

There's your first enrty.


I did a little poking around, and was able to find some very recent pictures of Marilyn. I put them in her entry.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I found a photo of him on the internet. I put it in his entry.