Arni Richter, Washington Island Native For 98 Years, Dies

Picture from Ferry Cabin News, with some great writing about Arni Richter.

One of the colorful personalities that lived in Door County when I worked for WDOR Radio was Arni Richter.  After moving to Madison, and while working with State Representative Lary Swoboda,  Arni  Richter was also a constituent with needs and thoughts.  When he would call the office for business he was never too busy to also just chat on the phone.  I recall I would often ask what the weather was like up his way, and he would let me know when it was sweltering in the statehouse that there was a cooling breeze off  the lake for the residents of Washington Island.   He very much loved the island.   He was always a gentleman on the phone with me, even when our politics clashed.   I wish that I could have heard more of the stories he could tell about the decades of living on Washington Island.

Late this week I heard that he passed away in mid-December 2009.  His obituary was as interesting as the man himself.  In part it reads…..

He was born on Washington Island, Feb. 5, 1911.  He was an island resident his entire life where he was notably engaged in the ferry transportation service.

On April 11, 1940, Arni and his father, Carl, purchased two wooden ferries from Captain William Jepson. This began a close association with the daily ferry business as a captain and company president that continued through his retirement in 2001.

One notable occasion was in October 1960, when the only bridge in Sturgeon Bay was rendered inoperable by a collision from the foreign freighter, Carlsholm. Within hours, Arni dispatched two ferries to help keep traffic moving from the east to west sides of Sturgeon Bay, with the resulting Door County Advocate headline: “Little Island Helps Big Island.” In May of 2003, the island’s newest and largest and most powerful all-season ferry, ARNI J. RICHTER, was christened in his honor.

In 1990, Arni was quoted in the book Over and Back saying: “I have no regrets..looking back, it’s been an interesting life, and rewarding, too. It makes one feel good to do some of the other things which improve living here overall. I am one of only five children in my family who was able to stay on the Island…I’ve often said it was because I couldn’t do anything else!”

Another Reason Republican Senator Dick Lugar Gets More Respect At CP

Conservative Republican Senator Dick Lugar has long been one of those I have held up as an example of what the GOP once was like, and what they need to gravitate towards if they wish to again be credible.  I was one of those who was really interested when Lugar sought the White House.  His insight and common sense is often most obvious, as it was again today.

Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, defended President Barack Obama’s handling of recent terrorism threats, taking issue with former Vice President Dick Cheney’s criticism.

“It’s unfair,” Lugar said in an interview for Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend. “I think the president is focused.”

To the contrary, Obama has demonstrated “firmness” and “decisiveness,” Lugar, who represents Indiana, said. “That’s been the antidote to the criticism.”

Still, the U.S. may be focusing too much on Afghanistan at a time when al-Qaeda is finding havens in other hot spots such as Yemen and Somalia, Lugar said. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian indicted in the Detroit plane plot, allegedly received his training in Yemen.

“I suspect that we will have to try to think through why we went to Afghanistan,” Lugar, 77, said.

After eliminating the al-Qaeda training camps there, the U.S. undertook “nation-building” beyond traditional development aid, he said. Projects such as advancing democracy, ensuring girls can attend school and promoting agriculture to replace poppy cultivation, while laudable, have cost “tens of thousands of people, hundreds of billions of dollars,” he said.

Inside The Deals Regarding Conan O’Brien And Jay Leno

The business side to the late night talk show skirmishes between Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien at NBC  are really most interesting to read about.  And the money that is at stake…..huge.

For Mr. Leno, who made no secret that he was unhappy about being moved from “The Tonight Show,” the change represents something of a vindication, even if his crown has been tarnished by his 10 p.m. experience. Mr. O’Brien faces a more unpalatable choice: accept a demotion to 12 a.m. and stay on NBC, or leave for another network, thereby breaking his lucrative contract with NBC.

The exact terms of Mr. O’Brien’s contract are not known, but he is rumored to have built into the deal he made five years ago to stay at NBC a guarantee that he would host “The Tonight Show” or NBC would owe a penalty of as much as $45 million. If his show continues to be called “The Tonight Show,” NBC may not be in breach of his contract, which could compel Mr. O’Brien to stay at NBC even if another network makes him an offer.

According to one senior NBC executive, his show will continue to be called “The Tonight Show,” even though it would — for the first time in its more than half-century history — not begin after the late local news. Under the plan being discussed, Mr. Leno would still host a show called “The Jay Leno Show.” The third NBC late-night star, Jimmy Fallon, has shown some promising ratings with younger viewers. He would then begin his show at 1:05 a.m., the executives said.

Should The Burka Be Outlawed?

While I consider a burka a most backwards and sexist garment, I also have some fundamental problems with a government making such an item illegal.  I admit to having conflicting feelings as I support American laws that make it illegal for a religion to allow for multiple wives.  So why should I have different feelings about the burka?  Am I being more sensitive to Islam than I do the Mormons?  In both cases there is need for reform, but what is the best way to address and resolve these issues?  I really do ponder these matters.

I think it best if women were not oppressed and forced to wear a burka, but the changes on this would seem to need to come from within the culture that supports the idea, as wrong-headed as it is, to cover completely the woman’s body.    I would love to have modernity impact all those who are left behind and forced to wear the burka and abide by standards that have no soundness, but I am not at all convinced that France’s role in this area is wise or prudent.  

The parliamentary leader of the ruling French party is to put forward a draft law within two weeks to ban the full-body veil from French streets and all other public places.

  The announcement by Jean-François Copé, cutting short an anguished six-month debate on the burka and its Arab equivalent, the niqab, will divide both right and left and is likely to anger President Nicolas Sarkozy.

 Mr Copé, in an interview with Le Figaro to be published tomorrow, said that he would bring forward a law which would impose fines of up to €750 (£675) on anyone appearing in public “with their face entirely masked”. Exemptions, still to be drafted, would permit the wearing of masks on “traditional, festive occasions”, such as carnivals. Stiffer punishments would be laid down for men who “forced” their wives or daughters to wear full-body veils.

Elvis Knew Price Of Fame Early in Career

This story makes it easy to understand why Elvis needed protection from his ‘Memphis Mafia.’

Less well-remembered is Presley’s first Indianapolis performance. In 1955, the then-20-year-old Presley was part of a touring Grand Ole Opry show starring Hank Snow at the old Lyric Theater, in the 100 block of North Illinois Street. 

A year later, Presley was reported to have stopped at the Jones and Maley auto agency, 3421 E. Washington St., to have the two front wheels on his baby blue Cadillac balanced. Presley’s car had girls’ names scratched into the paint, one observer said.


Elvis At 75 Still Inspires Impersonators And Tribute Artists

How many men can say they never curled their lips while shaving in the morning and uttered, ‘Thank ya, thank ya very much’ in an attempt to mimic Elvis?   Huh, how many?  How many of my readers never let the shower acoustics lend its magic to the refrain from “Blue Suede Shoes” or “Teddy Bear”?  Or maybe when the house was empty (and the neighbors gone) have you tried out the opening line of “Hurt”?  Come on, be honest.

I have done all the above, and even taken to the karaoke stage in various places (from Madison to a small bar in Coloma on a Sunday night when it was full of snowmobilers) to sing “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”   In short order I discovered that those machines have  both the traditional version, and the concert rendition of the song.  That is important of course, because if you do the concert version with ‘the big ending’ just right those in the audience might lift their cigarette lighters and wave them, as they did for me in Coloma.  (And my nephew was there to witness that in case anyone doubts it.)   That small taste of appreciation only skims the surface of what it must be like as a real Elvis tribute artist.

Today all over the world there is recognition that Elvis Presley would have been 75 years old.  Tonight from Europe to Memphis there will be Elvis impersonators and tribute artists who will take the stage to a hard-driving band before robust and enthusiastic audiences, with intense applause.   To honor Elvis on his 75th birthday I have sought out some remarkable videos of impersonators (being serious and also having fun) to share with my readers.  After all, there is nothing more flattering than to be emulated and honored in this fashion.