Archives # 14

    another "Scoop Web-Exclusive!"


Scoop and the future Mrs. Scoop out on a date.


Mudwrestling with Angry Nuns--a love story!  

Pt. 1 (right below!)    Pt. 2

plus  A 'hot' new camping recipe!

plus new Links designed to waste time !

plus new Camping & Info Links!



Mudwrestling with Angry Nuns! Pt. 1

Scoop Gets Down & Dirty with the Future Mrs. Scoop!

Perhaps you’re the type of man who takes his date to Fern Bars…you know, T.G.I.F., Olive Garden, Chi-Chi’s (not recently, I hope!). Or maybe a regular bar featuring…KARAOKE! You slacker! You younger guys have to learn to impress your Lady with your sophistication and style.

So let me educate you.

When I was a younger Scoop, full of grandeur and vim, able to leap tall buildings, I had the same attitude. I was fortunate to meet the future Mrs. Scoop, and I courted her in the usual style to which we men of the ‘70’s were accustomed. Yet, there was certain finesse lacking…something that needed savoir-faire, a certain ‘fire’, perhaps. Unable to speak French, I instead landed upon a lucky opportunity. Yes, it was mudwrestling!

Face it, Gentlemen…what could be better? There you are, wearing bathing suits, your girl looking fine in a bikini, you hopefully NOT in a Speed-o, because that is a wrong thing, no matter how good you think you look, and if you want to wear one, go to France or Italy, you toad. You outgrew that thing 20 years ago. You look like an idiot, and everybody else is snickering at you!

Just thought I’d let you know.

But I digress. Anyway, I began taking the future Mrs. Scoop up to the campground I now call home. At this point it was weekends only for us, and we worked while there, the future Mrs. helping me pick up garbage, among other assorted tasks. This is not ‘Quality Time’, guys! And it left little time for fun, although I do recall we visited the campground bar frequently. I also ran some activities, and one of these was the little sport of mudwrestling.

We hacked out a pit approximately 30’ x 20’ and chewed it all up with a roto-tiller. Watering began an hour ahead of the Games, and we made it nice and sloppy. Anyone who entered the Pit got a certificate, which I hear are very valuable now. You could also purchase a Collector’s Item T-Shirt for a measly five bucks. I still have one, and you can buy it from me for 5 billion dollars.

The rules were simple: Three rounds, and girls always won if they were wrestling a guy. To even things out, we might make the guy kneel down and put two arms behind his back…hey—we made the rules as we went.

As the announcer, you may think I had the coveted spot, but it was indeed the ‘Hose-Man’ who was most popular. This was always the innocent-looking yet slightly-sinister Chuck Nelson. A good-looking lad, he would man the garden-hose and spray down the contestants when their faces and bodies were plastered with mud and they couldn’t see a thing. And thus Chuck began his sinister thinking…

Wrestling in mud is vigorous, fun-filled action for all. You clutch, you stumble, you slide under. And when you, as a girl, come up, asking for ‘The Hose’, you usually don’t notice that sometimes you left your bikini-top down around your waist.

And so Chuck the Devil would leave the boy-wrestler clawing at the mud in his eyes while he—Chuck—hosed the girl (Editor’s Note: "It’s ‘hose’ as in water!). The poor man-wrestler would be standing there gasping, digging clumps of mud from his eyeballs and mouth while all us bystanders watched as Chuck started at about throat level and worked his way down on the unsuspecting lass. You couldn’t tell what was going to be revealed until Chuck finished, but the crowd was eager, and many bets were made: topless or not!

DISCLAIMER!!! We were not perverts! We never deliberately let anybody see a thing! It was all in the spectators’ imagination--mostly! Chuck and I were very gallant about unexpected happenings like this—we would throw our own T-shirts to the girls if the ‘Hose’ went too far.

But incidents did happen, and to this day I still believe that Chuck’s hose made all the difference. So we had a big draw, guys and girls alike, parents, family feuds, everybody getting into the pit.

And then came the Day Of Reckoning…The Day Of The Angry Nuns!

I’ve told it before, but it bears repeating, and I give you this caveat with all due respect to anyone mentioned here: If you are a church group or any religious function, your kids are going to go nuts! Maybe it’s just the call of the wild. Scouts, Brownies, whatever—all I’m saying is, your precious angels are just normal kids.

But if you’re a Nun chaperoning twenty girls who are eager to enter the Deadly Mudpit, beware! Chemical reactions are happening in those bodies, and they seem to have a delayed-release mechanism that only detonates when covered by mud, wrestling a horny guy, and wearing a swimsuit that no parent, let alone a Nun, would know they owned.

These are outfits that would make a parent gasp. And so it happened…young handsome Chuck was controlling the hose, two healthy young females entered the Pit and came up muddy, and Chuck let loose with the hose. It wasn’t his fault—you could see strap-lines under the mud…it’s just that the straps weren’t holding any more fabric.

The crowd laughed, and then fell strangely silent. Chuck entered the Pit with T-shirts in hand to give the lasses cover, nice guy that he is. Perhaps it was the crowd’s silence that warned him, or perhaps the sound of twenty heavy shoes and the distinct scratch of thick fabric thundering in the wind. He got that deer-in-the headlights look, and then ran for cover.

The Nuns came charging at the Mudpit as an army, black robes billowing behind as they hiked their skirts up to reveal black stockings and shiny boots. In one instant an image was forever implanted in my poor Catholic brain: Nuns have real legs! Ergo, they could track us down later in life, even after we graduated from Grammar School, and still whack us with that yardstick! To this day, I am haunted by this discovery.

In the mud, the Nuns struggled briefly, then the mud seemed to part for them: they moved effortlessly through that morass. The Nuns were on a mission: save the souls of the poor girls ravaged by the evil ‘Hose’! They cloaked the two girls entirely, surrounding them, and then one, probably Sister Superior, in charge of all ‘Permanent Records’, stared at me dead-on, eye-to-eye. I tried to point to Chuck, but I was trapped. I knew then that, whatever good deeds I might do in my miserable existence on Earth, I was doomed to go to Hell.

To be continued..!

Pt. 2: the future Mrs. Scoop gets jealous, and issues a challenge!

Bonus Camping Recipe!

A hot new camping recipe!

Courtesy of Amber Fornstedt!

Shrimp Mescal

Sautee cooked yellow rice with diced red onion, diced tomato, diced fresh jalapeno, fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, & tequila until liquid thickens.

Add cooked shrimp (you can wait until this point to add cilantro, as it will have a fresher taste).

Simmer for 5 minutes.

Garnish with slices of avocado and sprig of cilantro.

Scoop says: I hope I got this right—all mistakes are mine!

Amber has been dating the notorious Chef Jeremy at Luke’s Restaurant in Milton, WI. for some time now. She’s a great-looking gal and Jeremy should wise up, especially since we now know she can cook some great camping-food!



Hot Links!

New Links for Fun & Info!

Waste time at work with Goofy Links! Talk Like A Pirate, Drink-O-Meter, Bowling For Cats, Fly-Catchin' Frog, Haunted Mansion, the Evil Eye, and more coming!

Check out new Camping & Info Links!

You could spend a good 8 hours here (including lunch hour)!


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The new 'Scoop Jackson Golden Star Certificate', suitable for framing, and destined to be worth big bucks! All you need to do is win a Contest--maybe even just enter!--or be a NewsHound and rat on your friends! Good luck to all!



Mudwrestling With Angry Nuns…a Love Story  Pt. 2 In which Scoop Rants and has a Flashback!

Nuns strike fear into my very heart. After all, I went through eight years of Grammar School with them in Chicago. Maybe they’re tougher in New York, but I doubt it. To add further fear, I then spent four years with the Brothers at St. Laurence HS, which is a whole different tale, although I must mention that I was the 2nd student with long hair to avoid ‘The Dean Of Discipline’ by wearing a short-hair wig (neither hair reaching the collar of the regulation dress shirt nor sideburns were permitted). For the record, the 1st was Jim Ulanski, who turned me on to the wigs at Ted’s Barber Shop on Archer Ave. They were $35, and I had to hock my HS ring to buy it.

            But let’s get back to the Nuns. For instance, when as a 4th-Grade Patrol Boy, when I led a strike to get milk instead of water in our morning cocoa, we were fired and severely beaten.

            OK, we weren’t beaten. But we were threatened by the Nuns, which is  definitely a high-tech form of mental torture that the Chinese and North Koreans were only to happy to assimilate. And yes, yardsticks were involved. With the Nuns, I mean.

            And at this point I must apologize to friend and fellow-classmate Bob Bujwit, who sat right behind me in class. I’m thinking 5th or 6th Grade here, when Geography books were the size of Chicago or Madison telephone books. I suppose I was either sleeping or goofing off when Sister Bonaventure threw the Geography book at my head. Her desk was only 15 feet away and a straight shot, so it would have been a direct hit had I not used my Spider-instincts to duck.

            Or maybe I leaned over to shoot a spitball. Regardless, studious Bob, probably studying, but maybe checking the stats on the White Sox--I learned later he sometimes smuggled in the Trib or Times, folding the Sports page just right so the textbook gave proper camoflauge--well, he didn’t even know what was coming. He took it right on the noggin as the rest of us watched in horror.

            He was a strong kid, just quiet, and I don’t think he said a word. The Geography book bounced off his cranium and it landed on the floor with a thud. (I’m talking about the book here, of course). To add insult to injury, Sister Bonaventure did not apologize to poor, innocent Bob. She said: “Pick up that book and bring it here. And let that be a lesson!”

            Although I haven’t kept in touch with Bob after I moved out of the neighborhood, I know he is in the roofing business and doing well, and I'll bet every time he does a job near a school he wears a hardhat, just in case Sister Bonaventure is still hanging around. And I’ll also bet you he could tell you instantly what the Sox did back then, to the day. How could he forget…it’s lodged in his head.

            OK, one more thing. When I went to St. Laurence HS, we were warned by the Brothers not to cross the line in the parking lot that also served Queen of Peace HS next door. The Brothers patrolled the dividing line on their side, and the Sisters marched a foot or so away on their side. Sometimes—get this!--we would be real daredevils and, while the Brothers and Sisters paused in their duties to swap a heavenly joke, some of us would race over and actually step over the line! So there!   

            Wait--one last thing! As a Freshman, I was told by the Seniors that there was a ‘secret’ tunnel connecting the two High Schools, and for $5 I could get a map that led directly to the girls’ showers. My question is: Was this true? And at what point did you exit from the ‘secret’ tunnel? Was it a great vantage point, like looking down from the ceiling, or was it just a shower drain, and you would get all wet and have estrogen-laden bubbles smearing up your eyeballs? I never got to go, and I just want to know if I was a fool to spend the five bucks.

            Enough of this nostalgia. I merely meant to show you how my ingrained fear of Nuns inhibited my escape from the mudpit. No, it was not just the thick mud—it was a temporary paralysis from the Past! Yet I escaped unscathed; the Nuns were more concerned with dragging their charges from the hellish Mudpit. Mother Superior did stop long enough to glare at me and Chuck. “We’ll discuss this later,” she said. Her thick frown and dead-eye glare left no doubt I was to be cast into oblivion, with scorching flames licking at my bones for Eternity. But ha! I was to be saved by her own charges, those restrained girls recently released from Nunly bondage…


            (please…a brief pause while I freshen my drink and collect my thoughts. Nostalgia can be painful).


            Later that night there was a dance. The band was Cat Sass, a favorite of mine. They’ve since disbanded, but at the time were new to the campground. I can call any of them right now and verify what actually happened that night at the ‘Evil Dance’. For now, take my word for it…

            I’m sure the girls were properly chastised and allowed to attend the dance only under strict conditions. I admit they were all well-behaved for most of the evening…how could you not, with the Nuns surrounding the dance Pavilion like…well, never mind—I still think I’ll get into Heaven.

            The band was good. People were dancing up a fury…even the Nuns were swaying a bit. The next song was ‘Mony Mony’.

            I betray my age here, but I knew it by Tommy James & The Shondells.

            Things had changed…


            I don’t feel like checking facts right now, but I know The Vulture will, so I’ll Update later. For now, it was either Billy Idol or somebody else, and it was either ‘Mony Mony’ or ‘Boney Maroni’, with some changed lyrics and a lot of audience participation. The song was the same until the chorus, which the band sang out as: “Here she comes now, Mony, Money…say what?” And the audience responded with…well, I can’t repeat it on this Family Page. But it sort of rhymed, and it involved…well, I can’t say, except birds do it, and bees do it, but the startled Nuns certainly never expected their innocent girls to know anything about it, let alone the evil words.

            There was no mud to wade through here, no Ma’am. The angry Nuns whisked those poor girls off the dance floor clean as a whistle, half-carrying any who protested. I fled, but not before Mother Superior again fixed me with a glare that left no chance that even a deathbed confession could save my soul.


            The next morning, salvation rose with the sun.


 Mother Superior was complaining to anyone who would listen that the Campground had corrupted her innocent women. No one dared respond. Things looked bleak. And then a fine upstanding citizen nursing his hangover with a strong Bloody Mary leaned over in her face and said: “Listen, sis, the band never said a naughty word last night. Believe me, I was there. It was those girls of yours who were singing the dirty parts. Maybe you oughta’ take the blinders off and get real.”

            Well, the nerve! Mother Superior, dumb-struck, marched off with her troops. And they never came back again. What a shame…I think those girls had some fun for once. And I think the deadly hell-burning curse was forgotten.


            I know what you’re thinking, fans: Where’s the ‘love story’ part come in?


Well, in that photo way above, you see me and the future Mrs. Scoop mudwrestling. What more do you love-hungry dating guys want? You’re slippery, wet, half-naked, in close if not tight body-contact, and you get to throw each other around. There’s only one step better. And that’s jealousy!

            See, there was a lady who kept insisting on wrestling me every Saturday. Normally that wouldn’t be a bad thing, except she was built like a fire hydrant, about 6’ tall, and very strong. Sometimes Chuck the hose-man and I had to do some wrestling with lone contestants to get things going. Chuck would always disappear when the Fireplug entered the pit, smart boy that he was. So I would take the brunt, fearing for my life. 

            After watching me risk my life two weekends in a row, the future Mrs. Scoop had seen enough! She marched right up to the Fireplug and proclaimed loudly: “That’s my man, bucko,” edged the Fireplug aside, and threw me into the deadly Mudpit.

            Of course I let her win…I’m no dummy. And since then, I’m the only one who’s ever hosed her.

            It’s a great feeling.

It’s love.






Scoop of the Month! Boating Safety Here, Folks!



          We all love the water, and there’s no better way to cool off on a hot summer day than jumping in or taking a boat ride. But safety officials tell you to think first before enjoying those cool refreshing waters.

          So listen to what they say. But they can’t think of everything, so let me fill in a blank or two, such as:


          Linda Rodriguez and Bonnie Rechlicz went out on Linda’s pontoon boat recently. “The boat was anchored in the middle of the lake,” said Bonnie, “and we just floated nearby in our little inflatable rafts. It was peaceful.”

           Until the nightmare began. “I saw this ‘thing’ begin to circle the boat!” said a still-shaken Bonnie. “It was this big, not even counting the tail!” added Linda. At this point Linda held her hands about a foot apart. I then asked Bonnie if it could have been a muskrat. “Oh no!” she said. “The tail! The tail! It was tall and black and ‘bald’.”

          Upon later introspection, Bonnie at first admitted that she could have been daydreaming about her fantasy date with Isaac Hayes. But she quickly retracted that statement. She then also admitted that neither she nor Linda had ever seen a muskrat. “What do they look like?” they both asked. More about that later…

          OK, I lied. About Isaac Hayes. Sorry. Bonnie then told me in a separate interview that Linda might be exaggerating a bit. “It was about ‘this’ long,” she stated, holding her hands approximately 6 inches apart, half of Linda’s description. “It was the fear of the unknown that made her embellish, or maybe that pina colada she had onboard.”

          Anyway, as the creature circled the innocent floating women (“Like that shark in ‘Jaws’”—Bonnie), Linda and Bonnie planned a course of action. “Basically,” said Linda, “we swam as fast as we could to the boat.” The circling thing then moved in ever-tightening circles as Linda yelled for Bonnie to pull up the anchors as she (Linda) started the engine. “But the anchors were stuck!” explained Bonnie. “We couldn’t get away from the evil foot-long, not-counting-the-tail, creature!”

          The nightmare got more nightmarish, and then even nightmarishier. “I finally got the anchors up,” said Bonnie, “and we started to pick up speed, but the creature came swimming through the water intake by the engine. I just knew it would suddenly appear at our feet.”

          And it did, its beady little eyes, now twice normal size, staring directly at Bonnie. “Its mouth opened, and I swear it was talking to me, or more like singing to me. It sounded like: ‘I’m a bad…shut your mouth! Talkin’ ‘bout…’ But I’m sure it was a figment of my imagination.” (Scoop is lying again—Editor).

          As they headed to shore, the valiant women fought back against the ever-charging aquatic animal. Linda grabbed what she described as ‘this pole thing’ and kept stabbing at the beast, keeping it off-balance. Says Linda: “We had just reached shore when I got it a good one, whapping it upside the head, and it slithered down by the engine and swam out through that water intake thing.”

          But the ordeal was not over. “It was under the pontoon boat,” said Bonnie, “and we knew it would come back. So Linda jumped on shore and kept poking at it, knocking it away from us. At last it gave up and swam away, jumping onto a nearby boat. We were safe at last!”

          Further details of the adjoining boat are vague, so all boaters are warned to be on the lookout for a ‘creature’ that may be either 12 or 6 inches long, with a black bald tail, and is a complicated thing, no one understands him, won’t duck out when trouble’s all about, etc.

          A sea creature sighting would be a scary thing, so I did some quick investigation on the Net, determined to prove it was indeed a muskrat. I found this information: The scientific name for a muskrat is Ondatra Zibethicus, which, especially after a few of Bonnie and Linda’s potent rum concoctions, loosely translates to “A big muskrat is on the boat and is after us!” I also found that the tail of a muskrat is long, naked, scaly, and black with flat sides. And that in the north (WI) they breed between April and August, and during mating season they are ‘extremely aggressive’. Another name for them is ‘Musquash’, which sounds about right after some more of those potent rum drinks. (Note: thanks to ‘Western Imprints Muskrat Facts’ by Tomes Caspers, and ‘The Complete Sherlock Holmes’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

          Thus armed, I notified Linda and Bonnie that they had fallen victims to a frisky muskrat, and they should watch out after August, as that is the muskrat’s ‘extremely aggressive and out-for-revenge’ season, and let’s face it, Ladies, you probably ruined the little guy’s sex life with that pole.



Definitely Some Safety Tips Here, Folks!

          A rafting adventure at Sugar River was underway, but little did the adventurers realize what lay ahead. “Well, maybe we should have anticipated some problems,” admitted Mary Atella. “We had eight rafts for people and three rafts for beer coolers.”

          The major incident occurred when Maria Onstott jumped or fell off her raft (assume the worst—Scoop). “I didn’t want to lose the beer-cooler raft, so I wrapped the thick yellow rope around my neck. I only did it while I stopped to ‘adjust’ myself (no clue as to what this means; maybe a ‘female’ thing—Scoop). The currents were fast, and at this Mary did a double-take and called out: “Hello, Maria—do you really think that is such a good idea?”

          Gasping for breath, Maria loosened the noose and escaped unharmed, except for various scrapes and bruises caused by normal rafting involving alcohol. However, other near-and-direct tragedies happened.

          Irene Lee ended her trip by disembarking her raft and having a four-foot long snake slither between her legs while she waited in the water. To her credit, she withheld her scream until her niece and nephew were safely on shore. “But then she really let go!” said fellow-rafter Rae Augello.    

          Mary Atella and husband Ken went right instead of left at the fork in the bend and found themselves entangled in the low-lying branches waiting from shore, and Ken did indeed suffer a serious misfortune when a stabbing branch ‘just reached out’ and hit him between the legs. But “He’ll be OK,” advises Mary. “I told him to put a cold beer down there as an ice-pack.”

          So, all in all, it sounds like a great adventure, and Mrs. Scoop and I are glad we didn’t go.


          Every summer I have a contest, and every summer no one enters (except once, back in 2001, I think). So why do I suffer the neglect? Because I believe that some day some one will actually enter the Contest! So here goes, for a $10 gift certificate at Dave’s Milton Ace Hardware and a semi-valuable Scoop Golden Star Certificate, suitable for framing:

1)    What beer am I referring to in the 1st paragraph?

2)    Why did I use ‘Sherlock Holmes’ as a reference?

3)    In what story?

4)    What type of bullet caused Dr. Watson’s injury?

5)    Fill in the blanks to the opening vocals to ‘Shaft’: ‘Who’s the ____ _____ ______ who’s a ______ _______ for _____ _____ _____?”

Send your answers to the Camper’s Courier c/o Scoop, or email me at Good luck to all—I will keep all correct or nearly-correct answers in my Scoop hat and draw a winner one week before the Labor Day issue of The Camper’s Courier comes out, so you can enter right up until the bitter end. Wish me luck that someone enters my contest. I’m keeping my legs crossed in anticipation while I wait…low-lying branches are everywhere.  See more Scoop at

         NOTE!!! This contest ends the weekend before Labor Day of 2005. I'll post the answers here in case you want to check your skill. 






Scoop of the Month

Best Little Cathouse In Town!

Residents Skittish At First, But Now Proclaim it Purr-fect!

           A major maintenance project reaped a side-benefit for some furry felines recently, just  in time for Thanksgiving.

          ‘HD’,  part–owner of a campground in southern Wisconsin, spent several lengthy days cleaning up ‘the Dumpster area’, the fenced-off place up the road from the campground where all the garbage goes. It’s also the place where quite a few cats have journeyed to, or, unfortunately, been abandoned by former owners. They (the cats!) used to scavenge there for food and seek shelter from the bitter Wisconsin winters. Many didn’t survive.

          That changed when Cherry McCutchan went into action. A volunteer for the County Humane Society, Cherry supplied several igloo cat houses and an insulated doghouse at the Dumpsters, as well as daily food. She caught as many of the cats as she could and had them fixed and those still able to be saved were treated for illnesses. But the Dumpster area needed to be cleaned up, and the old cathouses sat dejectedly in the way.

          So HD took the initiative by moving the cat shelters to a location several yards away, where they wouldn’t be in the way of the bulldozer that would reshape the area. But while moving them, he realized there was definite room for improvement. And right then several other factors came into play to create the best little cathouse in town…

          The Campgrounds RV Sales & Services carpenter Richard Coleman had two days left before he went on winter hiatus. When HD suggested Richard build a better cathouse, Richard’s nimble mind went to work. He quickly rattled off a list of some scraps of this and that still left over from past building jobs, listened to a few suggestions from fellow RV Service workers Tom, Terry, and Guy, and then Richard went to work.

          The cathouse is eight feet long and three feet wide. This reporter forgot to measure the height, but it is approximately three feet, with a shingled roof sloping back to allow for rain and snow runoff. The house is completely insulated, with double-thick walls framed by 2x4s, and sided with vinyl. The floor has indoor-outdoor carpeting, and, as Richard (again, using materials from prior jobs) pointed out, “Oak interior!”

              HD is pleased; Richard displays his handiwork; the cathouse heads on up

          One topic of discussion was how many openings for the cats, and what to use for the doorway as a wind flap. Serious discussions as far as doorways included the opinions that A) There should be an In and an Out, and B) Cats can’t read, and don’t listen anyway. Richard went ahead and allowed only one entrance, in the middle. “They can go to either side to get out of the wind.” In his infinite wisdom, he added, “If they don’t like one side, they can go to the other.” As for the door flap, another fortuitous event occurred.

          Terry and Guy were removing an awning from a trailer. The awning was shot, but in a stroke of brilliance they saved part of the canvas and a section of the awning rail, which also serves as a rain gutter. It now adorns the entrance to the cathouse, and future plans include installing a walk-up canopy and a complimentary scratching post. Hors DeOveurve, including Catnip a la Dumpster, will be served on opening night.

          Or maybe not. Anyway, the crew pitched in as the hours dwindled, and at 3:45 on a Friday afternoon the cathouse was moved by a skid loader to its new home. It took every man available (except for this photographer, of course) to position it correctly. As the cathouse was set in place, anxious, nervous felines took refuge and watched from the shrubbery. Guy took the initiative to lure a test-cat from the woods. Guy, already resembling Les Nesmith from WRKP In Cincinnati (Duct tape across a palm wound and two Band-Aides on fingers), got halfway to the house when the big gray cat with a chunk missing from its tail turned on him like a bad date on Saturday night. Guy got her to the door, tried to put her inside, and then had to let her go as he was scratched on the wrist. “She didn’t want no part of me,” said Guy.  “Another tale of woe, I’ll tell ya’.”

          Guy was advised to get a tetanus shot as the cat gave him a sarcastic sideways look and headed for the woods. Other suspicious rascals stayed behind cover. But within a day, reported Cherry, the cats were enjoying their new custom cathouse. “They love it!” she said.

          In related news, Guy has recently been seen slurping milk from a bowl and digging and then covering holes on the campground beach. “He licks himself a lot now,” added a fellow worker.


          Brave Guy; The Escape

WARNING!!! If you attempt to 'drop' a cat or kitten off in private property, especially this particular campground, you will most likely be arrested. Wisconsin laws are especially strict on abandoning animals. You would be far better off, financially and emotionally, by calling your local Humane Society. Think about it first!








Scoop of the Month
THE DYSFUNCTIONAL GOURMET  Recipes For People Just Crazy About Food

Buy this cookbook--but don't blame me!

I’ve known Bob Fugate for a long, long time. His sense of humor is warped just fine, and he sends the best Christmas cards, the kind that makes you wonder what kind of depraved minds get paid to make these things up. I get to see Bob and his lovely wife all summer long, indeed a blessing, and this past summer he graciously autographed a copy of his new cookbook, ‘The Dysfunctional Gourmet’.

          Yes, it is everything that I expected from Bob. These are neat little recipes that you too can whip right up at home or in the RV. I’m including a few for you to try, but if you are a sensitive type of person, please try to remember that I had nothing to do with them, and Bob is the person you really want to kill.

          Thank you, and there will be more information after these recipes…especially on finding Bob.



10 oz. package frozen corn, thawed, drained well

1 red or green pepper, diced (or combination)

1 small red onion, diced (or green onions)

¼ c. minced fresh cilantro (or 1 T. dried)

3 T. olive oil

Grated zest and juice of one lime

2 T. cider vinegar

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

½ of 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed & drained

 Combine all. Refrigerate to blend flavors. But what shelf should you put them on? The top shelf. But wait. That might not be lucky. Better put them on the bottom shelf. Wait. That dish isn’t lined up with the milk carton. Better put them on the middle shelf and make sure that all of the labels in your refrigerator are facing to the front. Exactly to the front. I don’t want you leaving the house until they are all perfect. Serve with tortilla chips.

 Another one…


 ½ c. each: onion & celery, carrot, diced

¼ c. butter or olive oil

1 ½ T. flour

2 tsp. curry powder

4 c. chicken broth

¼ c. diced apple

½ c. cooked rice

½ c. diced cooked chicken

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. thyme

½ cup cream

 Saute vegetables in butter. Stir in curry powder and flour. Cook about three minutes and add broth. Simmer 30 minutes. Add rice, chicken, apples and seasonings and simmer 15 more minutes. Stir in cream before serving. Serves 4. Do you have that many friends? No, I mean real friends? Many times the people you think are your friends—really aren’t your friends at all. They are just using you. Are they worth sharing this soup with? Probably not. Take the phone off the hook.

 And one more…


 2 large cans sweet potatoes

1 can pineapple chunks, juice reserved

4 T. butter

½ to ¾ c. brown sugar

½ c. chopped pecans

About 1 c. mini marshmallows

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring ¼ c. pineapple juice, butter and brown sugar to a boil. Pour over potatoes layered in a greased casserole. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, covered. Uncover and sprinkle with marshmallows. Bake 3 to 5 more minutes, until marshmallows are melted. Note: In grandma’s day you could be a big, fat cow and still find love. My, how times have changed!

 Well, there you go…a sample of Bob’s appetizers. He also has Soups & Salads, Side Dishes, Main Dishes, Breads Etc., Desserts, and, really, a final chapter on Household Hints, like cleaning, stain removal, table settings, and things like that, which is why I immediately turned the book over to Mrs. Scoop. Sorry, not my department.

          OUCH! OK, I will read all of the chapters! Anyway, if you have a friend who needs a nudge over the edge, or maybe really needs a laugh, buy this book. You can get it at:

          And if you are familiar with southern Wisconsin, you can buy Bob’s cookbook at I Love Funky’s in Ft. Atkinson, a great store with cool stuff. Bob is furiously at work getting more outlets lined up. But right now, go to Funky’s or shop online…or…if you’re really in the know, visit Bob at his site in the Pines. He has dancing bears. Enjoy!

LAWYER NOTE: Scoop is not responsible for anyone trying any of these recipes, nor for anyone ‘nudging over the edge’, nor for any toxins or poisons. All recipes are courtesy of ‘The Dysfunctional Gourmet’ by Bob Fugate, so he is the guy to go after.

          Also, Bob has his own warnings in the book, which includes all of this plus disclaimers against unwanted pregnancy, picking out bad wallpaper, foaming at the mouth, and anything else he can think of in this sue-happy little world of ours. So enjoy his recipes with a grain of salt…or maybe more. 


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Gilbert Does His Stuff at The VooDoo Lounge at The Rio

Vegas Updates 2006 ‘HOT TIPS’ including itchy skin, a dangerous Voodoo drink, smuggling beer, and Vegas gossip—plus, the heck with that guy on the shuttle bus!   PLUS PART TWO: 



 Recently Mrs. Scoop and I were forced again to visit that evil, money-sucking, skin-chafing city. This was in early February. We made our own ‘evil’, and the money did indeed get sucked out at the slots and card tables, but I also reveal here that there was a serious dry humidity problem happening. A nose-bleed occurred (not to me) at a business-related class I attended, and Mrs. Scoop and I were attacked with dry shinbones all week long. The sponsor of the class, an important man whom you wouldn’t normally expect to say such a thing, admitted after a few beers later on that he too had itches…in his case, his forearms. And he was from Arizona.

     So you see now why you should always check here for vitally important info. Do those costly gambling magazines you regulars subscribe to ever give ‘hot tips’ on chafing? I bet not! Ha!

      As for Updates, I need to report that the inexpensive liquor store infamously regarded to as ‘The Hole In The Wall’ is still across the street and down a short walk from Bally’s Sports Book Room. (See ‘Scoop Does Vegas’ in Archives!) It has its own slots, but best, a great tourist shop. Mrs. Scoop and I got beer and souvenirs at prices far below anything we saw on the Strip. Note: the helpful counter lady used two black plastic bags to make the case of beer look like a suitcase, so I was able to carry my ‘luggage’ right to the room without withering glances from Security. Plus the liquor store is right there by the shuttle back to The Rio. Even with chafed shins, we shopped, walked the two blocks back, and caught the free ride that comes every 20 minutes.

     The evil we encountered was fun-evil. Mrs. Scoop and I had been to The Voodoo Lounge atop the Rio long ago, but I wanted to go back. While watching the Rio channel in our room one day while applying skin lotion, I saw a commercial for The Voodoo Lounge, showing a bartender making his fancy moves while concocting a drink named The Witch Doctor. The first ingredient was dry ice. This gave me concern…wasn’t dry ice dangerous? How come the only people I ever saw handling it wore lab coats and rubber gloves? Actually, that’s not true, because one time my cousin Steve and I went to a pharmaceutical supply store, the only place that carried it, so we could put some in a casket at a Halloween party. But we were very careful and wore thick work gloves.

     So I wasn’t sure about having it in a drink. But a few nights later we ventured out and up to The Voodoo Lounge to throw caution to the winds.

      First we attended a cocktail reception for the class I had attended. Apparently no one was tipping the bartender, because when Mrs. Scoop tucked a few singles in his jar, he made each of our drinks a triple. (These would be martinis and Mai Tai’s). Three of these, and away we went, not in a straight line.

      You access The Lounge on the second floor, where a polite but strict gentleman makes sure you are properly attired. I tried this a day or so earlier with jeans and sneakers, just asking. The same polite young man, in his suit and sharp shoes, grinned, pointed at Mrs. Scoop, and said, “C’mon, you want to show off for the Lady when you come here, right?”

He was right…I did. Next time, we were decked out for the occasion and passed freely. Entering a darkened anteroom, we were whisked to the 52nd floor in a glass elevator that climbed the outside wall of the Rio. It’s a great view if you’re not afraid of heights. I was slightly quivering when we arrived.

      The curving hallway that led in was painted black, with black-light voodoo symbols eerily warning us of expectant dangers. A puff of ghostly smoke sprayed us as we turned the final corner. And there was the Voodoo Lounge is all its retro glamour.

      Plush red velvet banquet booths, black lacquered tables, a cool bar. Below us, on the 51st floor, the dance club was opening and music floated up ($20 admission, so never mind, at least as far as I was concerned). We went to the bar and inquired about the Witch Doctor.

      Gilbert the bartender quickly agreed we should try one. It was about $28 (!), but the long-stemmed glass was the size of half a volleyball. With ornate fluid moves, Gilbert got started with the dry ice.

      I asked him about that. Wasn’t there a potential for your lips to get stuck to the glass? Had anyone been seriously injured drinking a Witch Doctor?

      No, said Gilbert. And there were straws to use. “Besides,” he added, “after a few sips, you really won’t care.” Ha ha, you funny Gilbert.

      Every bartender in Vegas, and probably everywhere else, now does the flipping of the bottles and pouring from shoulder length. Blame it on ‘Coyote Ugly’. A lot of the bars use it as an advertising ploy. Gilbert was good, rolling rum bottles across his shoulders and down his arm, tossing this and that, and just for us, the only ones at the bar right then. (I carefully noted the ingredients, but about fifteen minutes later, after two sips, when a man asked me if that was that drink he saw on Rio TV, and I said yes, all I could tell him was that it tasted like a Hurricane from Pat O’Brien’s, only sweeter. And it was worth the $28 + tip. Mrs. Scoop was able to add that it had about five different rums and some peach schnapps in it).

     As Gilbert added the final ingredients, the dry ice reacted, and smoke began billowing from the edges of the glass. He inserted two straws, maybe 12” to 16” long, and we quickly found a table.

      This is where you need to heed my warning. I always wear glasses, and was semi-protected. But each time Mrs. Scoop and I went to take another sip of the Witch Doctor, one of us got stabbed by the over-long straws. I was merely nicked above the eyebrows, but Mrs. Scoop, foggy but quick, gathered enough sense to put her own glasses on. Neither of us was seriously injured, except for loss of brain cells.

      We then journeyed out onto the 52nd story open-air patio, replete with heat lamps (early Feb., and it was chilly) and Naugahyde couches. The view was spectacular, and I recommend it. After that, we finished our Witch Doctor, and either I don’t remember any more or I’m not telling. You know what they say about Vegas…


The evil Witch Doctor makes us bleary and wary

  Scoop’s Tips:

On our shuttle from the airport, our unusually quiet driver couldn’t contain himself any longer as he let passengers off behind The Imperial Palace. “It’s all going down, Folks!” he said. “Harrah’s, IP, Flamingo..all being torn down to make way for a ‘Harrah’s Mega-Resort’. The whole block. Plus The Stardust down the Strip.” And indeed the rear of the IP parking area was undergoing some massive deconstruction. Parts resembled a psuedo-war zone.

      After Rio, Mrs. Scoop and I stayed at the Tropicana, which was a tad of a let-down. It’s one of the oldest still left, and the talk among most of the casino dealers all weekend was that there was to be a meeting Wednesday to let them know if the Trop was going to stay open. As of today, months later, I’m still getting emails for events in May at the Trop, so maybe it’s going to stick around for a while. But I don’t think for long…

 THE BASTARD ON THE BUS: Mrs. Scoop and I were coming back on the shuttle to the Rio. (This shuttle hits many casinos—Scoop). Two couples were seated next in line, one couple 60’s, the other 40’s, obviously some sort of father-son reunion or VS. They chatted and laughed, leaning across backs of seats, and when the shuttle arrived back at the Rio, they got off with the rest of us. Being savvy travelers, Mrs. Scoop and I wait until the aisles are clear. As the older man got out of his seat, I heard the distinctive sound that only a genuine casino chip makes when it hits the floor.

       We waited until the bus was nearly empty, then I went to the spot. There was a $100 chip from Paris. I picked it up. Outside, the two couples were parting. I went to the wife of the older man, the first person in their group I could catch, and asked if they had just gambled at that casino.

       She acted awkward, a normal reaction from being approached by a stranger. She directed me to her husband. I asked him the same question. “Well, yes I did, “ he said, acting like I was a Mob guy sent out to hit him in Vegas. “I think you dropped this on the bus when you were leaving,” I said, and handed him the $100 chip.

       He put a hand in his pocket, felt around as if he were counting other $100 chips, and said, “Yeah, that’s mine.” Then he gave me a strange look and walked in to the Rio.

       I’m glad I gave you back your $100 chip, mister, but I hope you come back and lose BIG TIME!   


Part Two: In which The Vulture, an infamous character well known to avid readers, tells her story of a different way to 'do' Sin City! See the 'Hidden Side' as only this woman can tell it! 


                    A Practical Guide For Those With a Lust For Life 

Gotcha!  I bet every single one of you thought this had something to do with sex.  WRONG!  This has to do with a Las Vegas Virgin.  That’s right folks, a Las Vegas Virgin.  Someone who has evaded the evils of Sin City for more than 50 years!  I know that sounds strange in this day and age of cheap airfares and cheaper hotel rooms.  But Vegas finally got me this past February when my self and three friends decided it would be THE PERFECT PLACE to celebrate two friends VIB (Very Important Birthdays)

 For those of you who have had the pleasure of visiting Vegas, you know what it’s all about, but for someone who doesn’t drink, smoke or gamble, what does one do in the City of Sin?

 Well, there is really quite a lot to do for the regular “tourist”.  On our first night there, we thought it would be beneficial to take in a cultural event that showcases the Australian culture.  We went to see “The Thunder Down Under”.  A well-produced and quite educational show that was well worth the cost.  As you can see, the natives were quite friendly.


 We then did the walking thing.  We walked and walked and walked and only covered about ½ the strip. I will tell you that you can truly spend hours going to view the beautiful hotels. Most of the larger hotels are really something to see.  You can also stumble upon some things not talked about in the guide books.  Two of my favorites were the homeless man sitting on a pedestrian bridge with a sign in his lap saying, “Why lie. I need beer” and constantly repeating “Coors, Coors, Coors, etc” The second was the somewhat well known “guy who quotes Shakespeare”.  He was brought to our attention by a comedian we saw at the Improve in Harrah’s.  We all thought he was making this guy up until we were going up one of the numerous escalators and here is this guy, quoting Shakespeare but adding his own unique twists here and there.

 The Bellagio is quite magnificent with the huge pond out in front that has a Dancing Fountain show set to music that repeats multiple time during the day and evening.  Each performance is to a different song. Quite spectacular!


 Inside the Bellagio’s Lobby is a truly stunning ceiling done in blown glass by renowned artist Dale Chilulay, as well as fountains, gardens, lounges, buffets, restaurants, and the always-present casino.

 You may know that a lot of the hotels have themes, like the Paris or the Venetian.  Just walking around some of these places can almost, (I stress ALMOST) make you feel like you are there. The Eiffel Tower and the Arch de Triumph in front of the Paris, the gondola ride inside the Venetian and the lobby ceiling painted to look like the Sistine Chapel are just a few of the wonders to be found.



  Some of the large hotels like the Bellagio, Caesars Palace and the Aladdin have shopping malls directly attached to the hotel.  So, if you ever do succeed in finding you way out of the casino, you can easily get lost (OK, maybe lost is a bit of a strong word, maybe slightly detained) in the shopping areas.  The Dessert Passage which is attached to the Aladdin was a visual feast done as a Moroccan Bizarre with a ceiling painted to look like the sky.  Multiple times during the day, the sky got “cloudy” and it became windy, thunder sounded and we had a rain shower over a pond.  Quite fun, really.

 Speaking of casinos, if you have never been to Vegas or to any large gambling instruction, BE WARE!!!!  These people DO NOT WANT YOU TO LEAVE!!!!! The first thing I noticed was no clocks. No clocks, no idea how long you have been contributing to the employee Profit Sharing Fund.  The second thing I noticed was there were really no direct routes to the exits.  Can’t find your way out, can’t leave.  More money for the employee Profit Sharing Fund.  The third thing I noticed was even if you can locate the exits, they don’t direct you to the outside streets.  Still not leaving, still feeding the one-armed bandits. 

 If you feel the need to escape all of this “fun”, there is a Red Rock Canyon National Park and Valley of the Sun State Park both within an easy drive of Vegas.  We opted to take a day and do some hiking and sightseeing of a different kind.  Although our time was limited we found both places to be striking in their stark beauty.  We did an easy hike in Red Rock Canyon but due to time constraints, were not able to really take advantage of the hiking that park offered.


       Red Rock Canyon               We hoped this one was telling us where the beer was



 Must have been pretty big bees!     Sign said “Limit 10 People” Makes you wonder, eh?


 We were able to spend a bit more time in Valley of Fire that had the most interesting formations call “Beehives” and a very large collection of pietroglyphs. Hiking was easy on the paths we chose.  We were even able to climb up to an arch and take in the surrounding view. It was a great break from the constant movement of Vegas.

So, even though I am not a gambler or drinker, Las Vegas was a BLAST!  Try it! You just might like it. I did!  And next time you see him, ask Scoop! He’s a repeat customer.

Scoop Says: Thank you, Vulture, aka Carol Okerstrom, for some valuable advice! Even as 'repeat customers', Mrs. Scoop and I often neglect to take the time to enjoy Vegas the way we did when we were 'Virgins'. The awe and thrill of the sites and scenery are worth a double-take.

Scoop's Final Tip: If flying from the Midwest (I haven't come in from any other area of USA), get a window seat. You get the Grand Canyon and then the Strip lights. And there are lights indeed... 

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