29 June 2007

Catching up, part I

Okay, so there are other things going on in my life other than having to explain myself to everyone ... for instance, the Prairie Cats played a show at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha last Tuesday. Daddy K, guitarist for the P-Cats and all around nice guy introduced me to the crowd when I walked out onto the 'dance floor' "Hey! It's Onionboy". Thanks for the publicity, I need so much of it right now. About 20 dancers showed up.
P-Cats at OBS Gardens 1
Daddy K and the P-Cats stay out of the sun, the dancers, not so much.

It was a little on the warm, sunny side for an outdoor dance, but the gardens are beautiful, and the P-Cats were cool as usual. Alicia and Viv shared a special moment when they discovered they both had a love of cheese. Alicia brought a cheese plate and crackers and was generous, thank you. Cornstalker and I disagreed on one of the cheeses, I liked it quite a bit, he said it "tastes like my grandmothers sock drawer". You shouldn't eat stuff you find in there.

Nice Hat
Jeff finds a way to keep his face shaded.

Smilechild, Viv, Cornstalker, and I took a short tour of the gardens. Smilechild and I may go back soon. I wanted to get to the butterfly bush, but we didn't walk that far.

See Cornstalkers posting about this event here.

Thank you State Farm

Thank you State Farm Insurance, they gave me a dividend check for $55. Thank you safe drivers for not putting in too many claims as of late.

24 June 2007

Deleted Post

I had a big long post here continuing the discussion about the "leadership" post.

Some of the items that were in the post may have been based on erroneous information, it kind of ruined the flow of it. So I deleted it.

I'm tired of the whole discussion, and as am I tired of the Jitterbugs organization in general, which used to be fun and friendly, and now is not. This customer of Omaha Jitterbugs, is very dissatisfied, and frankly can't understand why anyone would want to argue with the customer. The point remains, attendance is declining, and I feel at the center of the issue is a leadership problem. Maybe you don't like the way I said it, but all the arguing with me that anyone can do won't solve anything.

If I made a post about why I haven't shopped at Bakers for eight years, there would be some that would want to argue about it. All your arguments about why I should, why I am being silly, or any other argument won't make me shop at Bakers.

When I said in my original post "...go ahead and argue with me all you want..." I was wrong, don't argue with me all you want. If you want to discuss anything face to face, I'll be happy to share my thoughts and listen to yours.

20 June 2007

This is so wrong that it works this way

Here is the graph of the number of visitors I have had to my blog each day over the last thirty days. See if you can cleverly figure out which day I wrote something controversial. Today's data is as of 2130 (that's 9:30pm for those of you 24hr clock challenged).

An open letter to you brave souls with no names

This is prompted by the fine people who aren't brave enough to place their names on comments to this post.

Dear Anonymouses,

Seriously, do you want expect anyone to believe you care about this subject when you are don't have the intestinal fortitude to place your name at the bottom of your comments? If you wish to hide in your anonymity, please go ahead (except for you Frank Lloyd Wright, I am a huge fan of yours, and appreciate your comment from beyond the grave). If these comments come from the board or directors, I think it only proves my point that there is no leadership. If it comes from anyone else, if you have opinions, please feel free to own up to them.

In reference to comment #5, One of the points I am trying to make is this, I got off of my ass and went to Lindy in the Park last Sunday, no one representing the board or staff of Omaha Jitterbugs bothered to get off of their asses. The one person who could have represented the organization who was there was there, Spanky, was there because he did set up.

In reference to comment #6: "It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much." Yogi Berra

In reference to comment #7, as for having a clue about the what the board does or doesn't do; if indeed the board does actually work hard to promote the Omaha Jitterbugs, all that effort has netted declining attendance at JNO and LITP, good job, who has no clue? You ask me to get the facts, well here they are: people are not attending JNO or LITP like they used to, what facts do you have to present, probably if you have any you wouldn't be posting anonymously. Since Omaha Jitterbugs is a registered non-profit, why not have the board meetings open and announced? People could then find out what is being done and have a chance to register their complaints and compliments when decisions are being made.

I still think you are missing the point. The directors and board are the storekeepers for the Omaha Jitterbugs Shoppe. I, and the others who come to the dances are the customers. The customers are leaving and shopping elsewhere. So go right ahead and tell me, the dissatisfied customer, why I don't know what I am talking about, tell me about how there is no problem. The great majority of your dissatisfied and apathetic customers will do exactly what they did last Sunday, not show up and not tell you why. Here is a lesson in business for you, I (and the other dancers) am not here for the convenience of the board and staff, you are here (or not here) for mine (and the other dancers).

19 June 2007

Back to normal

The world can relax, I just pulled my whites out of the dryer and ... I had an odd number of socks. All is normal.

A crisis in leadership, as in, there is none

I have been to Lindy in the Park three times this year (not counting one lunch), each time there were less than ten people who have showed up. What's up with that? The weather? A little cool at the first, but that's not it. People have quit enjoying swing dancing? Nope, try again. Everyone has to work on Sundays now? I don't think so.

With sights like this last week at Lindy in the Park, who wouldn't want to be there?

The problem is a lack of leadership. First off, lets explain the word leadership. The first part of leadership is leader, as in the person who goes first. People follow leaders, they are the people who lead. Leadership means to be out front, rallying the troops, being a presence, getting people excited. Leadership leads, usually by example.

We have a board, we have directors, my three times at Lindy in the Park, I have seen one of these people there for about 20 minutes. Yeah team! Show us how much you care. When I was in the military, the people who ran my shop were the first there, the last to leave, they knew who you were, and asked you how things were going for you. One of them, named Roger Anderson even cosigned on my car, do you think maybe if he put a gun in my hand and said "we are going to retake that hill" I would have followed him? I think so, I probably still would. They worked so hard us regulars would gang up on them and make them go home early every once in a while. They led, we followed.

Work is different, very few leaders, a lot of managers, directors, and other types. They are there to protect the investors investments. They need to manage resources and direct people.

Omaha Jitterbugs is not work. No one is paid. You cannot direct them to go to Lindy in the Park or Jitterbugs Night Out. You can not manage your resources in to greater volunteerism. You can only get people to participate one way, by leading them. Like Yogi Berra said about low attendance "If the people don't want to come out to the park, nobody's going to stop them."

Yes, we have vision, yes, we have great events for out of towners, but we are losing our constituency. Seriously, I watch, the number of newcomers at JNO is just as high as always. It's the medium to old timers not making a show. Newcomers might come out to Lindy in the Park, but they have to know about it and see a couple familiar faces, and a crowd, when they get there. Again, our instructors, directors, and board are not there.

Don't give me any crap about being out of town, Billy & Lindsay would have made darn sure if they were out of town, someone was going to be there to represent. If you focused on taking care of your small customer, the people in Omaha who come to JNO and Lindy in the Park every week, you wouldn't have to worry about money for the big events, 501c3 or not. If you let people who want to volunteer contribute, you wouldn't have to feel overwhelmed about everything getting done for the big (or small) events.

Go ahead and argue with me if you want, it really doesn't matter. Others are saying and thinking the things I've said here, and they are voting with their feet, dancing elsewhere or not. Without clear, out front leadership, Omaha Jitterbugs will be like any other enterprise with bad customer service, the people will just quit coming.

phone photo
Let's not have any more nonscenes like this one at 1345 (that's 1:45pm for those of you 24hr clock challenged) last Sunday.

18 June 2007

Great moments in fire

phone photo

Besides all the excitement of the CWS, it was also a three fire weekend. Thursday I built a fire just for me and was just relaxing when Schmendrick came out of the house.

Schmendrick: "What are you doing?"
Me: "Burning sticks."
Schmendrick: "Why?"
Me: "Because I can ... pull up a chair."
Schmendrick: "Can't, I'm in a chat room."

a short time passes, maybe two minutes, when Schmedrick grabs a handful of sticks and tosses them on the fire.

Me: "I thought you were in a chat room."
Schmendrick: "Look, I'm a guy, there is a fire, here are some sticks, I can only resist so much."

Saturday night started when I invited Viv over for a grill out and to hear about her trip. She brought Cornstalker. He invited Ben & Maegmariel (who brought marshmallows). Finally Schmendrick came home. There were some fun moments, some not quite G-rated conversation, and as far as any of you know, nothing caught on fire that was not supposed to. We stayed up until about 0130 talking and laughing.

CWS Madness

For those of you not in the Oma-know, one of the big events here in Cowtown every year in the College World Series. Every year it just gets bigger and bigger. I spent about 36 hours checking out the sights starting with the opening ceremonies Thursday night.

As a short aside, did you ever review the pictures you took and discover that approximately none of the ones you thought you had taken were actually taken?

Thursday night was opening ceremonies, featuring bands, the teams, fireworks, and general hoopla. The hook that got me down there was The Prairie Cats were playing a set at 1800 (that's 6:00pm for those of you 24hr clock challenged). Venche and I went down and met up with all the other jitterbugs who came out to see the fantastic show ... which consisted of my roomie, Schmendrick. Nice showing Jitterbugs leadership. Hugh and Jim showed up eventually.

phone photo
I managed to get a picture of a couple of very famous people, just ask them.

phone photo
No, this bird didn't escape from the zoo, it was part of the festival atmosphere at Rosenblatt Stadium.

I try to go to at least one game per year, last year it was the championship game, thank you again LeeAnn, I still have the ticket stub on my microwave. This year I was planning to go to game four on Saturday night, but I got a last minute call to go to game one, and so I did.

We paid for general admission, we sat here. I'm not sure the two are the same. The game featured CWS veterans the Rice Owls and newcomers the Louisville Cardinals.

No, it's not a police lineup, it is the group we came with. Just two more people in our group, and we could have fielded a team! and lost.

IM003645.JPG IM003632.JPG IM003643.JPG IM003636.JPG
One of the things I love about going to a ballgame is there is so much more going on than the game, it's easy to be distracted.

We spent time talking to the people behind us, a woman and this little girl. The woman was originally from Kentucky, and therefore rooting for Louisville, the little girl got too much sun, and was trying to get out of it by draping a shirt over her and borrowing my hat.

The guy who sat in front of us had a big head and wouldn't get out of the way!

Louisville jumped out to a big lead, but just couldn't finish the game, Rice won 15-10.

After staying up way too late on Friday night, I got up and went to help with 9th Inning Ministries Saturday morning with Great Adventures, a.k.a., my Bible study group. 9th Inning Ministries hands out free water at ball games, and does other things too.

Would you buy a used car take a free bottle of water from this group?

We gave out 1100ish bottles of (mostly cold) water in about 30 minutes.

Dre demonstrates her winning bottle handing out form. I wonder why more people would take free water from a pretty girl than an old guy like me?

IM003652.JPG IM003656.JPG
After all the water was handed out, and the obligatory ice fight was finished, we walked and drove out to Alicia et.al. house and had a cookout.


There were 37 photos total, you can see the rest of the photos here.

13 June 2007


So, the last two times I have washed clothes, all of my white socks have matched up ... naturally, I have an extra black sock now.

12 June 2007

So you think I am exaggerating?

Okay, there are some of you out there that think I am a little prone to exaggerating, maybe it's true, but when I say the tree behind my house drops a ton of stupid sticks, that's not one of those times.
We had wind storms last week, okay, it was more like a couple of really windy days. I assure you, my back yard was as stick free as I could make it before my party, so this is all post party. Yep two big trash can fulls, all broken into eight inch to one foot sections. Plus the pile of bigger sticks there too.

I can't wait to get it all into the fire pit. Anyone want to roast any marshmallows?

11 June 2007

ATTN: Mae & Venche

Look, a shirt that matches
Thank you Venche! Nothing more needs to be said, I hope.

10 June 2007

A little clean up

Okay, I admit it, I am the first person to say to others "what did the doctor say?" when they are ill ... but what did I do, I tried to fight off a nasal infection for two weeks all on my own, even though I knew what it was. Sheesh, what a moe-ron. Oh, by the way, I blame Viv for my getting sick, although since we see the same doctor, it does make the doctors visit easy ... "Hi Jessica, I have the same thing Viv saw you about on Tuesday."

The house is still messy from the party last Saturday, or maybe not messy, but I still have a couple things to take care of. Like moving the grill back to the deck, which actually I need Kevin to help with. I also need to find homes for all of the items that got left behind. Some I know about, like Spanky & Mae's cooler, Cornstalkers umbrella, Lois' microphone equipment, and the top of Venche's martini shaker. Others not so obvious, like a very nice cooler that was full of water bottles, I have no idea who that belongs to.

Some of you may remember that the big tree in my back yard likes to drop dead sticks all over the place. After all of the high winds this past week, I now have enough sticks back there to keep my fire pit burning for about a week straight, which is what I plan on doing with the darn things.

I made a few changes to the blog, dropping a few links to people for various reasons, Rock'n'Robin because she barely even gets on a computer anymore, let alone has time to update, Suzie because her blogspot isn't her main source anymore and I'm not sure she wants strangers (or people she knows) finding her, and ReportWriter because I've pretty much reached the conclusion she is long gone, even if she says she isn't. I did add one of the two "advertising" pictures that Jannaverse made for me.

There are other things going on with my general 'cleaning up', but I'm not quite ready to talk about them ... I miss Rock'n'Robin, I really have no single person to talk with in person about anything and everything right now.

Edit: For that matter, about 90% of everyone I know well is/was out of town last weekend, this weekend, or next, it seems like only myself, Spanky, & Venche have not gone anywhere. What's up with that? Maybe I need to go somewhere just to go. :-)

07 June 2007


When I saw the headline for this one, I thought you've got to be kidding me...

Woman arrested for making faces at dog

...but then as I read the article I thought, shouldn't this woman be tried for something? There are many, many times that I side with the police officers who have to deal with these idiots, I think that it's usually the prosecutors that want to make a name for themselves. This time it is the reverse, the cops should have just arrested her for disorderly conduct and public intoxication, using the faces she made at the dog as evidence. No problem getting that conviction. The state's attorney looked at the evidence, and the charges, and decided not to prosecute ... good job exercising some sense. Now if you could only pass that along to the lady and the officer involved, I wonder if there is stem cell research for common sense (re)placement?

04 June 2007


Curse my silly memory... I am sure that others will tell you I was distracted and stressed at my party, but already I am only remembering the good times, ah the beauty of a rose colored memory. First off thank you to the people who helped put Junetoberfest together with their help, or lending of equipement: Venche, Viv, Lois, Spanky & Mae, and Schmendrick ... thank you. A special thanks to our musical entertainment, justsmilechild and erinoneday.

Saturday dawned about as clear and beautiful as you can imagine an early June day could be. Viv showed up early to help with the set up, Venche showed up a little later, but still early. Amazingly enough, everything managed to work itself out and be prepared by the time 1500 (that's 3:00pm for the military time challenged) rolled around and attendees started to show up.
Viv and I grabbed the microphones and did play by play for this badminton death match for world supremacy.

100_3329 - cliffo 100_3327 - cliffo
Sharon shows the correct method for making Takashi pose for a picture.

This little guy turned out to be very entertaining, he shot up about to the height of my tallest tree.

IMG_2248.jpg - cornstalker
Unfortunately, the rain did not stay away, so several times people crowded into my tiny house. Here they are watching a DVD cornstalker made of swing dancing events, but we also had The Princess Bride playing.

IMG_2258.jpg - cornstalker IMG_2253.jpg - cornstalker
Frisbee was also on the menu.

100_3320 - cliffo
Okay, so as if the rain wasn't enough, there may have been a few water balloons thrown around too, who is this leading the charge towards the not so unsuspecting Venche?

cliffo cliffo cliffo cliffo cliffo cliffo cliffo cornstalker cornstalker cornstalker cornstalker cliffo
The rules were that nothing wet was to go inside the fence, so we all stayed out and got soaked.

100_3342 - cliffo 100_3341 - cliffo
Then for a more conventional water balloon toss, Ben & Justsmilechild won. It was a good weekend for Ben winning things.

IMG_2299.jpg - cornstalker
We got the food going then, much thanks to Carol for doing the majority of the cooking. A concerned Ken is looking on to make sure his favorite part of a party is being done properly.

While dinner was cooking, there was entertainment in the form of Takashi, who shows us how karaoke is really done.

100_3358 - cliffo
After dinner was done (I am assuming that not many of my regular readers actually wanted to see food being eaten) it was the world premier of The SmileChild & OnionBoy Gospel Hour, consisting of the one song we practiced. It went well.

And then the real entertainment got on stage. Erinoneday and Justsmilechild did an original justsmilechild tune, and three others.

IMG_2311.jpg - cornstalker IMG_2311.jpg - cornstalker
Thank you again ladies! Try to remember all us little people when you are touring the world.

100_3372 - cliffo
Anytime you have a fire, you have to have marshmallows!

IMG_2331.jpg - cornstalker
By this time the excitement was winding down with the sun setting and everyone tried to find a warm spot around the fire.

IMG_2339.jpg - cornstalker

Clean up didn't turn out to be so bad, although it's not exactly finished right now. I was just thinking, we had no baked beans! It was also odd for a pot luck that no one brought desserts. Thank you to all who showed!

Much thanks to both Cliffo, you can see all 42 photos in his set here, and Cornstalker, you can see a video highlight reel here and you can see all 87 photos in his set here. Thanks to both for allowing me to borrow pictures with more or less implied permission.