Charity and Chili

It is that time of year again when my the state kicks off the Partners in Giving charity campaign. As you know, I have given to a number of charities in the past, either through donations or through time and labor. Furthermore, I have a couple of links to Web sites that provide information about the charities, including Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau. This year, I was in charge of putting together the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s Partners in Giving Chili Cook-off. It was a huge success, and we even had a special guest stop in and give a few words of encouragement. Below is a picture of me with that special guest, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle.

And if you are thinking about giving to a charity, please feel free to visit the Charity Navigator Web site.

Charity Navigator Web site

My fascination with Harley-Davidson

I have always been a big fan of Harley-Davidson (H-D) motorcycles and the people that ride them. I’ll admit that I haven’t met a biker that I didn’t like; that’s especially true about Harley riders. I really admire the H-D culture as well because the people are totally genuine, or at least you know where they are coming from.

Ever since I was young, I had known Harley riders and befriended many of them. But my recent desire to become a part of it happened when I started looking for a letterman jacket. I discovered that Harley-Davidson made one. I had an opportunity to stop at Capital City Harley-Davidson on Madison’s far east side with my friend Emil to look for the jacket. I found one that fit, so I bought it. But while I was shopping, I discovered how friendly the staff were, and the store has a lounge where customers can hang out. And as you walk in, there is the H-D showroom where you find yourself surrounded in a sea of chrome and V-Twin engines. Emil used to ride, so he explained a lot of the features and advantages of H-D motorcycles. I was then invited to sit on one, so I accepted. Although I was a little intimidated at first (especially with handling a motorcycle that cost more than my car), I felt very comfortable. After sitting on a few bikes and listening to Emil, I decided that it was time to pay for my coat.

As I paid for my coat, I asked the sales associate if I had to own a Harley to wear the gear. She replied, “no, but if you want to learn how to ride, we hold a course that teaches you how to ride.” After learning a little and thinking about it, I decided to take the H-D Rider’s Edge New Rider course.

I learned how to ride on one of the hottest weekends that summer. At first, I found it challenging, but I eventually became comfortable and passed the skills test. The following week, I passed the written test at the local Division of Motor Vehicles service center and received my driver license motorcycle endorsement. Although I didn’t plan to purchase a bike soon, I realized that I enjoyed riding so much that I now plan to eventually own one.

I decided that I wanted a picture of myself with my guitar on a Harley. Capital City Harley-Davidson has a wall of fame of people with bikes, but they don’t have anyone with a guitar. The opportunity for me to have my picture taken arose during today’s Rider’s Edge reunion. After the event, I started talking to one of the motorcycle sales associates. He was helping another customer, and while he pulled a 2006 H-D Street Bob in Black Cherry out for the customer, he was nice enough to take my picture (the customer was test-driving a Sportster 1200 at the time). So here’s a special thanks to Marc at Capital City Harley-Davidson for helping out and taking the picture.

By the way, I haven’t told my family about learning how to ride or my desire to own a bike. If you know any of them, please help me keep my secret… I’d like to surprise them someday.

My Strat, a Harley-Davidson 2006 Street Bob, and me... can life be any better?

Jury duty scam may be headed to Wisconsin

I received this from Glen Loyd at work today, and I also found an article online from a local television station:

Minnesota court officials are warning that scammers posing as court employees are using threats to get information for identify theft and fraud.

The caller says the citizen evaded jury duty and threatens to issue a warrant.

This scam has been used elsewhere in the country to get Social Security and credit card numbers and employer information.

Courts do not call citizens seeking personal information. Jury summonses are sent by mail.

The best way to handle these calls is to hang up.

For more information, call the toll free hotline of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: 1-800-422-7128.

WMTV Channel 15 article: Jury Scam