Passion = Truth? How Jeffrey James Francis Ircink Sees The World? I love when people are passionate about something. That surging of emotion is the one honest measure of what truth is. It's a truthful display of how a person really feels about something or someone at that particular moment. That passion IS truth.

About me...

My photo
Greendale, Wisconsin, United States
Ex-producer of THE REALLY FUNNY HORNY GOAT INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, playwright, actor, singer, outdoorsman, blogger, amateur photog, observer & bitcher, Beach Boys groupie, Brett Favre fanatic, lover of everything Celtic and forever a member in the Tribe of HAIR. Spent most of my life in the Village of Waterford, a small town just outside of the Milwaukee suburbs. After 12 years in North Hollywood, Bel Air and Culver City, Cali, I moved back to Wisconsin in September 2009. No regrets - of moving to LA OR moving back to WI. Have traveled to Belfast, Ireland, Dayton (OH), Manhattan, Seattle, Cedar Rapids, New York, Miami and Sydney, Australia with my plays. Moved back into the Village of Greendale where I was born. Life is good.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lost photo of Nino & the little chid'rens!

Thank you, Maria. Me with my goddaughter, Gwyneth (on my lap) and Grace. Look at how good he (me) is with the children. This is a couple years old - I think. Maybe a year old. They grow up so quickly, don't they?

GRACE! You pay attention when Nino's showing you videos! (Sorry)

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Friday, April 29, 2011

TGIF! presents...Elbow's "Grounds for Divorce"!

(For video above, FB users click here.) Newly discovered Brit alternative band (by me). Their debut album was in 2001. Intelligent lyrics and a great sound. I give'em a 98, Dick! Listen to when Gus Garvey sings the chorus of this song - I swear there are similarities between he and Richard Harris singing "MacArthur Park".

Check out Elbow's Wiki article and their website.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ex-ass. Sec. of Edu. says teachers' union not the problem & merit pay is bad.

There was a time when Former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch thought No Child Left Behind, school vouchers and charter schools were good for the American education system.

Not any more. Ravitch states during an interview on NPR's Fresh Air:

I came to the conclusion ... that No Child Left Behind has turned into a timetable for the destruction of American public education...I had never imagined that the test would someday be turned into a blunt instrument to close schools — or to say whether teachers are good teachers or not — because I always knew children's test scores are far more complicated than the way they're being received today.
I don't know enough about No Child Left Behind to comment on whether it's good or bad. But two points Ravitch made I clearly find puzzling.

1) Teachers' unions are "not the problem". Tell that to the New York State teachers' union. Millions wasted on "rubber room" teachers getting full pay and benefits for sitting in a room doing nothing. I'm not saying teachers' unions don't have their place - just that they're not perfect. Oh - and tell that to one of Wisconsin's "best new teachers"...who was laid off because of union collective bargaining rules.

2) "Merit pay is bad". Why? Because it's gives teachers' added incentives to "teach"? I'm not advocating that a teacher's entire salary be based on merit; however, even President Obama was an advocate for merit-based pay back in 2007 and in 2009, when he gave a speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce:
Good teachers will be rewarded with more money for improved student achievement, and asked to accept more responsibili-ties for lifting up their schools.
I'm unaware if Obama's stance has changed. Regardless, you can find just as many articles and studies that laud merit-based pay as those that decry it, so don't quote me facts either way. Use common sense. How many times have you heard sports' fans bitch about overpaid athletes and how athletes should get paid based on their performance? Why can't teachers have a similar pay incentive?

It might just help weed out those who are consciously trying to make a difference in a child's education from those who are just biding their time until they retire. And which teacher do you want instructing your child?

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Student-athlete = Not Kemba.

Not that you didn't already have this in your head about many student-athletes, but UConn basketball star Kemba Walker readily admitted it in Sports Illustrated.

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Debunking the myth of Lee?

Above: Robert E. Lee's death mask.

Nice to see someone had the balls to write this.

You would think that after 150 years (this month), all's been said that there is to say about the Civil War. No. Richard Cohen is a columnist for The Washington Post and pens a scathing opinion piece on General Robert E. Lee - "The Old Man", "Bobby Lee", "The Grey Old Fox" or "Marse Robert" - the beloved general of the Confederacy.

No disrespect to the South or people in the South; however, it has been my opinion - for years - that way too many people fawn over Lee. It has nothing to with the fact that the South lost the Civil War. It has more to do with Lee's incessant belief that "God's will" was the determining factor that guided his (Lee's) entire life, including his tactics as a general.

For example, when informed by his most trusted and knowledgeable generals that he should "re-deploy" (not retreat) at Gettysburg, Lee balked. We're here and we ain't leavin' (paraphrase). Whether it was a win or loss on the battlefield, it was always attributed to "God's will".

No. It ain't "God's will" when you have the power to decide whether to send 15,000 men running across a mile of open ground with Union crosshairs aimed at the whites of your men's eyes. I'm not talking about "honor" and "duty" and the manner in which battles were fought then. Both the Union and Confederacy should've learned from the Revolutionary War about fighting "indian style" - that's how we beat the British. I'm talking "tactics" and common sense - things Lee and and every military leader - on both sides - learned at West Point.

Lee is overrated. Period. It's God's will, don't ya know.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rain bucket.

Picked this up (among some other very fine pieces of enamel cookware) at my Uncle Butch's place. He's a "picker". Retired. Recycles metals. I've contemplated getting a rain barrel and, not thinking about it, set this outside my back stoop for decoration. It rained last night - but not 9 inches worth (which is what I collected). Twice now. Probably 'cause this house has no rain gutters and it's following directly off the top of the roof.

This will be nice for the flower/vegetable garden. Goin' green, baby.

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The Civil Wars.

I like them.

Discovered their music the day AFTER they played in Milwaukee last week. Here are a few favorite tunes - "Poison and Wine", "Falling" and "Barton Hollow".

Did I say I like them? And to think, they had separate careers before they came together. ;)

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Bruce H. says don't be dumb at the gas pump.

When our buddy Bruce (family friend, fish & hunting pal-o-mine) sends me an email tauting anything, I listen. With gas prices the way they are, who wouldn't appreciate some tips to make your gas tank go that extra mile?

1) Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening....your gallon is not exactly a gallon.

2) When you're filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to the fast speed. Pump on LOW - this minimizes the vapors created while pumping. If you pumping on the fastest speed, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you're getting less worth for your money.

3) Fill your gas tank is when it's HALF FULL. The more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates quickly.

4) If there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up. The gasoline is most likely being stirred up as it's being delivered and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.

You can thank Bruce later.

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Russell Brand.

I don't like him.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Airlines CEO's pay goes up; public still nickeled & dimed.

Continental CEO Jeff Smisek (left), who helped merge United with Continental, and Glenn Tilton, CEO of United, received a shitload of money (Smisek = $4.4 million total compensation, Tilton = $16.8 million) in recent pay raises.

Fine. Whatever. So if these airlines are making that much money (because we're always hearing how the airlines are in bad shape), why is it that consumers are still paying checked bag fees, exorbitant ticket change fees, this fee and that fee? Why do some airlines offer you the entire can of soda but others just offer a cup? Why is "no smoking" printed on the back of every seat? How much does that cost the airlines? And why are there still idiots who think they don't have to turn their iPods off when directed to by the stewards?

And while I'm on the subject, why does the seat space on every airplane I fly seem to be shrinking (because they do shrink the space, did you know that?). Seriously, if I put the tray down and place my computer on it my hands are literally pinned to my chest.

Click here for the full story. Oh wait...the executives who left United in the merger? They also get lifetime flight benefits, elite frequent-flier status and lifetime membership in the company's airport lounge clubs. Quaint. Nickel & dime, baby.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

He is risen. Easter Sunday 2011.

"...he was despised and rejected of men,
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,
he was oppressed, and afflicted yet he opened
not his mouth, he was brought as a lamb to
slaughter, and of a sheep before his shearer
is done, surely he hath bore our griefs and
carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him, stricken,
smitted of God and afflicted, but he was wounded
for our transgressions, he was bruised for our
iniquities, and through his wounds we are healed
- and born again."

Isaiah 53:3 (and some liberties from "Jesus of Nazareth" - the greatest movie on the life of Christ)

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Ecce Homo. "Behold the man".

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eshews cherries with stems.

Someone please tell me why bottled cherries WITH STEMS are 75 cents more than cherries W/O stems. You'd think the extra work to pull the stems would make stemless cherries more expensive - but they're not. Why?

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Aldo Leopold.

Aside from the fact that Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin in 1970, lets not forgot one of Wisconsin's "favorite sons", Aldo Leopold - ecologist, forester, outdoorsman, hunter and conservationist, who spent the last 24 years of his life in western Wisconsin. Leopold founded the science of wildlife management and wrote the landmark book, A Sand County Almanac.

"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."

- Aldo Leopold
Read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's editorial on Leopold's conservation contributions. You can find more information on the Aldo Leopold Foundation here.

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TGIF! presents...Earth Day - April 22, 2011!

(FB users will want to click this link.)

recycle. conserve. don't litter. take a walk or
hike. swim in the ocean. enjoy the outdoors. turn
the lights off. plant a tree. or a vegetable garden.
or a flower garden. carpool. start a compost pile.
buy local. go "green". tell the kids to get off the
internet/stop watching so much TV and get off their
asses. reduce water consumption. check your tire
pressure. drive slower. go camping and sleep out
under the stars. go with compact fluorescent bulbs.

Then try and do these same things every day.'re not the only person enjoying this Earth.

BONUS! Check out this doe and her fawns that walked through our camp in the Sequoia National Park, June 2010.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

"As the Time Draws Nigh"...for a friend.

As the time draws nigh, glooming, a cloud,
A dread beyond, of I know not what, darkens me.
I shall go forth,
I shall traverse The States awhile - but I cannot tell whither or
how long;
Perhaps soon, some day or night while I am singing, my voice
will suddenly cease.

O book, O chants! must all then amount to but this?
Must we barely arrive at this beginning of us?...And yet it
is enough, O soul !
O soul ! we have positively appear'd - that is enough.

From Walt Whitman's "Songs of Parting", Leaves of Grass, 1865.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Like minds...on Whitman.

From Wild Blue Yonder (Jennifer's packing list) -

Books - When I travel on location I always have Walt Whitman's
Leaves of Grass with me. I love it; it calms me in ways I can't explain.

Go figure. You can do a search of "Walt Whitman" in the upper left corner of this blog for my Whitman smatterings.

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"Dean & Me". A love story.

I'm a fan of biographies. You learn how not to fuck up. Mike Farrell, Frank McCourt, Malachy McCourt, Frank Lloyd Wright, Bruce Dern, Dean Martin, Elvis, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Kirk Douglas, Dennis Wilson, Brett Favre, Vince Lombardi, Richard Burton, Howard Stern, Abbie Hoffman, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams...and more to get to. Had I read Dean & Me (A Love Story), by Jerry Lewis, I would've finished it in a day (I took three days). Fast read. Funny read. Deano's my favorite all-around entertainer - and I loved these guys as a team and individually.

Hey look! It's me and the "original" Ricci Martin, Deano's 2nd son, at a gig in Pasadena. I got to know Ricci a bit through the Carl Wilson Cancer Foundation. Chip off the old block.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Estate sales will put me in the poor house.

Motherlode. Well, it's subjective. Or relative. One man's junk (as they say). Couple was in an assisted living home and they were selling everything. Golden years, right? Click READ MORE! for the rest of my bounty. I think the ladder is my crown jewel.

small wooden ladder
set of 6 blue old fashioned glasses
2 brass candle holders w/red insert
cobbler's tool w/4 shoes
ironing board
soft rake
hard rake
antique handled shovel
antique bamboo fishing pole
brass chachki holder (like the brass holder isn't a chachki?)
Currier & Ives Four Seasons of Life/wood frame, set of 4

The whole lot = $39.50

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday, Julie!

Oscar winner Julie Christie. I can't believe my baby turned 70 last week. My favorite actress. Check this love scene out with Donald Sutherland in Don't Look Now, widely purported to be real (we'll never know & there's nudity so no kiddies) and arguably the best love scene I've ever seen (it at least makes a lot of lists). It's not so much the lovemaking but the way it was filmed.

Thanks, Jen, for the head's up.

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Separated at Birth? Naomi Watts & Paulette Goddard.

You know who Watts is (top). Paulette Goddard was the first actress to be given a Technicolor screen test and was considered for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. She was married at least four times - including to Charlie Chaplin and Burgess Meredith. I believe her last husband was the author of "All Quiet On the Western Front".

Oh yeah - you have to turn your head to the right. I wanted them looking at each other so I'd have to position the pictures side-by-side. However, you have to crop the shots too small.

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Happy Birthday, Mr. Chaplin!

Charlie would've been 122 today. Listen - the song is, "Smile", sung by Nat King Cole, which Chaplin wrote.

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Have you had your maple syrup this morning?

I did. Let me know if you want some pure, organic Wisconsin maple syrup - made by my brother and I. Delish.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Retro TCR.

A memory album was given to me by a theater friend when I moved from Cedar Rapids to Los Angeles in the winter of 1998. This photo was taken during "Echoes" at Theatre Cedar Rapids in the summer of 1994. Caption reads:  "I challenge you to find a drunker, hornier group of people in Los Angeles".

I did not.

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TGIF! presents...Dad resting to "Gymopedie No. 1".

My father and Molly resting to Erik Satie's "Gymopedie No. 1" while my brother and I are "sugaring" in southwestern Wisconsin. Here's the link for FB friends.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Francis Mill. Waynesville, NC.

Dates back to 1887. Newly restored. If you're into grist mills, here's the site.

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Joey's Jelly.

I must learn to can.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

aw-tiz-uhm. still a dirty word.

While I was subbing today, there was a student in a 3rd grade classroom who obviously had some developmental disorder. I wasn't sure if it was autism or something else. So I asked a teacher (not the teacher of that class) what condition the boy had. She wouldn't tell me. She said, "oh I can't divulge".

Are you kidding me? I was under the assumption our society's been emerging from the dark ages regarding such matters. I mean, the student has been mainstreamed within the's not like it's a big FUCKING secret. Besides, I'm a teacher. For my own benefit, I have the right to made aware of children with ALL issues should a situation arise. Oh - wait...I'm a substitute teacher. Right. Maybe that's what it was. So I just asked another teacher and she told me. Was that so FUCKING hard?

Autism, MS, Down Syndrome...whatever the case may be. It's this teacher's attitude (not sure if it was her's or something the school told her to say) that placed these disorders in the closet in the first place. You wanna talk about hot? Me? Fine. We won't talk about the retarded, mental student anymore who walks around yelling and screaming nonsensical gibberish while he's given breaks from the closet that he's normally hidden in.

Better? By the way - the kids...they loved me. Didn't want me to go. Guess it's that substitute charm I exude.

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Biltmore's flora.

Among the many varieties of flowers and plants growing in the Biltmore arboretum, their orchids were the best I've ever seen. The bitch in Bel Air needs to visit Asheville and take lessons.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

One huge mofo home. Biltmore Estate.

135,000 square feet. 250 rooms. 8,000 acres. Went to visit my friend Joey (and take care of some theater business) before she takes off for Atlanta in May to get her doctorate in pastoral counseling (is that right, Joey?). The Biltmore estate in Asheville, NC is the Vanderbilt "country home" and is the largest, privately-owned home in the U.S. The pictures don't do it justice (and, of course, no photos of the interior).

Ostentatious? I'm not sure. The Vanderbilts were pretty giving folk from what I've read. They just had a ton of money they needed to spend. Visit the Biltmore Estate site and there's more information on the home at Wikipedia. Click on READ MORE! for a few more shots.


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