e-mail Scoop

OK, here's the Rules:

If it's for a potential "Scoop" article, give me the dirty details! You MUST include your name and phone#, campground, and best time to reach you. I'll try to verify, but if I can't and I'm the slightest bit worried about getting sued, it doesn't go in! But I will read and try to respond to every e-mail. Be patient! Above all, be a NEWSHOUND! Also be aware that I have the right to edit or change content to suit my column.

If it's for "Scoop's Gossip and Info", pertaining to your campground, do as above. Vital info is required.

If I still have any doubt as to the integrity of the info, I will send Frank and Al to your house. They'll have a chat with you...

If you want to criticize or congratulate, go right ahead. I can take it...I'm a Camping Man. 

OK...go ahead and tell me! 



Scoop Responds to e-mail


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A Christmas Story...

Santa Gets Spanked!

...the trials and tribulations of Scoop Jr. this past Christmas...

WARNING!!! Young children may be traumatized by the following photo!

Drinking For A Good Claus(e), a Smathering* of Santas


Scoop Jr. lives the good life in sunny San Diego. He left the nest here in chilly Wisconsin almost ten years ago and now feels that an abnormal low there in SD of 50 degrees is a 'cold front'. But there's no place like home, so he flies in to visit whenever work allows. This is a good thing, but because he has been osmosisized** by the laid-back style of California, but yet is always hectic, things seem to happen weirdly to poor Jr. whenever he hits home ground. So, Lad, don't take it wrong, but if you think about it, you'll laugh too...now that it's over.

    Scoop Jr. had a dilemma. California is very pricey, so he rents a house or condo with buddies. Two of the present friends were now moving out of the $6,000 per month house, so Scoop Jr. had to move on. He had already booked round-trip tickets for a mid-December journey here, so rather than pay horrific prices for a horrid motel, he spent $75 to change his flight, and came in two weeks early. So now he would be here for about a month, and during that time he would find a suitable place to live in San Diego via the Internet. NOTE: Scoop Jr. has class. We have visited often in CA, and tho he has moved often, he always winds up with a great place near the ocean...w/v.

    So now I begin Scoop Jr.'s tale of woe. He had put his furniture and most of his clothing in storage and then realized he would be staying a month in Wisconsin, instead of the brief two weeks he had packed for. Extra underwear and other essentials were retrieved hurriedly and crammed into every bag. Of course his luggage was overweight! Fortunately, a kindly attendant boxed two bags together to ship in cargo. And lo and behold...it worked and was retrieved safely, unlike missed-luggage mishaps Mrs. Scoop & I have encountered. So here's Scoop Jr.'s TRAVEL TIP: Tip the baggage dude out on the sidewalk!

    Scoop Jr. came in to a blustery Wisconsin wearing sandals and shorts and a Thinsulate jacket. He got out of his friend's car (borrowed for the duration), shivered like a friendly tiger that got dunked in the Arctic Circle, and marched his sandals through ten inches of snow. Again, fortunately, Mrs. Scoop always keeps some old but good clothing around for The Kid, and after making a fire and telling Mrs. Scoop and I how happy he was to be home, we two men hurriedly journeyed to the local bar that had the Bears game on the stinkin' NFL Network, you chiseling bastards.

    On Friday Scoop Jr. drove to Chicago to be part of a 'Santa Pub Crawl'. That's where the picture above came from. It was about fifty guys wearing Santa suits, each with a different get-up (Bozo Santa, Pirate Santa, etc.) and they journeyed to 7+ saloons mainly along Michigan Avenue and the Rush Street area. Scoop Jr. was X-Ray Santa, in that all the exotic costume stuff was taken and he smartly improvised with a pair of goofy goggles. It was for fun and for a good cause: each entrant donated $25 to Heartland Alliance, which provides "underprivileged Chicago families with Christmas dinner, gifts from Santa, and warm clothes for the winter" (here I'm quoting the sponsor of The Crawl, who until he says different, shall remain anonymous).

    It was probably at the 1st or 2nd stop that calamity occurred. Now, Scoop Jr. had undoubtedly made a few other stops before the Crawl actually began, but it was soon after the actual beginning that his driver's license and one hundred dollars was stolen. Was it a careless mistake, fifty Santas gathered drinking together at one time, or was it a miscreant thief with not a chance of ever going to Heaven, let alone working for Macy's during the holiday season? We will never know. And this was but the beginning of Scoop Jr.'s tribulations...

    Upon his return to Wisconsin, Scoop Jr. met a hot lady whom he decided to impress later that night by trying to drive through a snow bank in our driveway. When I took the garbage out the next morning, there was the car with the front end up in the air and car debris strewn about. When Jr. awoke later, we pulled the car free with the Scoopmobile and surveyed the damage.

    It used to be that you could patch things together on a car pretty easily, but no more. We would find out later that the repair would be about $650.00, since the little broken bits were attached to other non-broken but far more costly parts. For now, the repair job was put on the back burner...

    This was a working vacation for Scoop Jr., who recently went into partnership with a good friend in the recruiting field. Scoop Jr. works with his laptop and his cell phone, both of which are invaluable when away from the office. This is why it was especially traumatic when a few nights later, as Scoop Jr. was checking football scores on the laptop as his cell phone rested on the arm of the couch, the phone rang...

    Actually, it was set on 'vibrate'. As Scoop Jr. described it: "I just had to check one last score, then I reached for my phone. But it was already vibrating across the arm of the couch. I watched helplessly as it skittered to the very edge and then fell off, right into a fresh White Russian (the drink) below. You couldn't plan that if you planned that." That's The Kid...just like Madden. Or maybe Yogi Berra. (Sorry Gen X dudes and dudettes, but we're not talking about the bear on Huckleberry Hound here).

    Of course immersion in an alcoholic beverage, tasty as it might be, is not an insurable occurrence. So, that was another $300 for a new phone...

    Scoop Jr. eventually made it on the plane home, after a scramble for a quick fix to get the car repaired before driving to the plane, and a mad dash and lengthy wait at DMV to get a new ID just to get on the plane. It didn't cost him any extra for excess luggage, since he planned ahead and left a carton of clothes upstairs in the bedroom. These will be added to the rest of the Scoop Jr. Winter Survival Kit by Mrs. Scoop, for the next exciting visit. And now, to tally the trials of Scoop Jr., let's add 'em up:

            $100        stolen

            $630        fix car

            $300        new cell phone

            $1,030    total

    It was indeed a costly vacation for The Kid. But, as I said, he can laugh about it now. Because, all in all, it was the best time we've spent together in a long time. As The Kid said soon after in an email: "It seemed like a week, it went by so quickly." Yes it did. Having that time together: Priceless.

* this is a word I made up, meaning a smothering gathering of Santas. All uses copyright 2008 Scoop Jackson.

** this is when stuff sinks in from being around all the time, as in osmosis, but more like an unworldly experience such as living in California, where they burn brush to prevent wildfires and then accidentally start a fire that consumes one-third of our national forests and Arnold gets real upset. Actual osmosis occurs after a long containment, as in when after twenty years of marriage your wife can take the farts when you hold the blanket over her head. Not that you should do that. Ever. Trust me on this.








The Cougar Strikes! In which Scoop & Devious Dan play a big-time prank on an unsuspecting woman who lives in fear of the Milton Cougar. Plus a Bonus: some stuff Mrs. Scoop made me take out...and hot pix!

Scoop Courier #1 2008


Campers Ask: "Are these animal tracks dangerous? Can’t somebody please give us a Handy Reference Guide?"

By now quite a few of you have heard of the wild cougar that stalked Milton. We even made the national news…twice. The first time was when a local Milton man cornered it and defended himself with a rock. The second time was when four or five Chicago cops cornered it and defended themselves with about 10 bullets. Apparently no rocks were readily available. Reports that one officer left a throwaway .38 S&W under the dead cougar’s paw were unsubstantiated.

There was outrage both in Milton and Chicago over the killing of the cougar, especially after necropsy DNA testing of the cougar’s fur, blood, and urine done in Bridgeview IL confirmed it was the same big cat. But some important points need to be made here: 1) To be fair, the cougar in Chicago was shot about two blocks from a day-care center, or maybe it was a school. 2) The cat could possibly have jumped the building walls in the alley to escape and gnaw on some kids, who by the way should be inside the school doing pushups and climbing ropes for exercise and not running rampant in a playground for an hour, no matter what age. 3) Bridgeview IL is a known speed-trap, in case you’re traveling through. Even the people who live there usually park a few miles away and walk home.

And, in related news, OJ Simpson’s claim that the cougar was a ‘sports memorabilia hunting trophy" stolen from him in a Vegas sting operation was dismissed.

But even still, campers here in Wisconsin are worried and concerned, and rightfully so. The latest news from noted cougar experts is that the poor little guy was searching for a mate. As renowned cougarologist Harry Katt put it: "He was just looking for love in all the wrong places, especially Chicago. He should have headed for the hills, not Chicago, where it’s basically, well…flat." This is really a true fact—the mating thing--or at least an informed expert opinion. The cougar mate may still be out there, and you are advised not to wear furry coats when bending over to put another log on the campfire.

As you return to your campsites after a long winter, you will naturally be suspicious of strange animal tracks in your yard, even if it’s your own dog and you just saw him poop. It could be trick cougar poop. And it doesn’t help that the cougar goes by many names, including mountain lion, puma, and panther, and its tracks are sometimes confused with that of a coyote. That’s why I’ve generously included, somewhere, a Handy Wildlife Reference Guide. I strongly urge you to study it carefully and keep a copy with you at all times, certainly when stumbling through the woods or other dangerous places, such as your favorite saloon, especially if you often wind up in the alley.

Anyway, we are all saddened by the passing of the Milton cougar, but for many the scent of the cougar lingers on as a fond remembrance, like a BBQ’d phoenix rising from the ashes. However, for one person, it is like the scent of the Honey Wagon arriving just as icky stuff is oozing from under the toilet lid. Yes, for Karin Buntic of Blackhawk Campground RV Resort, it is…the scent of fear!


The cougar sighting was an opportunity too good to pass up. Anonymous and devious Dan Ross informed me via email that Karin was scared to death to come up to her campsite because of the cougar sighting. This was back in February, and Dan kept up the scary emails to Karin all along. Here’s a recent one:

(Note: Sue is Dan’s wife; Bob is Karin’s husband):

This could fall right into our lap! Karin called Sue last night.  Bob is not coming up this weekend (to the campground) so Karin is coming alone.  Bob does not know about our cougar plan.  Bob told Karin not to bring the dogs because of the cougar.  I will play this up this weekend and get back to you.

When this was all over, Karin said: "Why am I always the one?" Well Karin, your antics are plentiful, such as accidentally drinking bleach instead of her cocktail, or, as one of the infamous Three Amigas, trying to light the farts of innocent beer-drinking and pickled egg-eating saloon patrons. With such a prime target, Devious Dan and I decided we would put fake cougar paw prints leading up to her deck, and put fake blood and fur at her patio door. Dan then suggested we drink several tasty beverages so we could leave distinct ‘cougar urine’ evidence at the site. He went a step further by also suggesting we spell out the word ‘cougar’, like we all did in the snow as kids (guys only—na-na-nanana), except we would usually use our own names. However, I want to point out in Karin’s defense that even on a Bloody Mary morning she would eventually figure this part out. At least within 30 minutes or so. And the snow was all gone.

I also emailed back to remind Dan that the Milton guy used a rock as a safety precaution, and to suggest to Karin that she keep a stockpile of rock ammunition handy. But, as well-intentioned as it was, this part of the prank went horrible awry!

According to Dan, that Friday night Karin, a noted Chicago Bears fan, immediately began collecting large rocks to keep by her site. She then adjourned to Dan and Sue’s site to nervously drink many rum & Cokes, apparently forgetting that these same malicious cocktails had once caused her to drink bleach. She also forgot that she had left her patio door open.

Soon after Karin left to return to her RV, Dan and Sue began hearing loud crashing noises. Fearing the worst, Dan drove up to Karin’s site and found her throwing rocks desperately at the open patio door. "It’s inside!" she was screaming. Bam! Bam! Bam! went the rocks. Fortunately, said Dan, Karin "throws like a girl", and none of the rocks actually hit the expensive patio door. Two of the rocks hit either side, denting the RV siding, three fell way short, and four were intercepted by a neighbor’s RV. Karin is now being referred to as ‘Evil Rex’, as in Grosssman.

Yes, I’m lying. Back to the preparations: I made some fake cougar ‘paws’, which involved cement and two old hoes. These would get an F minus in any art class; my ‘cougar paws’ were very messy and quite possibly the ugliest handicraft ever made, even worse than anything Ray Rayner ever did (special nostalgic Chicago reference—Scoop). Accomplice Notorious Nancy Piper generously donated a large amount of hair from her dog, Josephine, after a good brushing. This baggie of hair has been on my desk for two weeks now, and I am anxious to use it or lose it, since it seems to move about at night, shifting slightly, sometimes growling softly. I don’t dare think of a ‘hair of the dog’ Bloody Mary in the morning…this project is beginning to haunt me.

I also can’t find my fake Halloween blood; it’s somewhere in the basement, which I have been cleaning out for the past three years. Instead, I purchase a Kwik Trip hot dog and take eight packets of ketchup and one BBQ sauce (Note to fake blood artists: add 1/3 packet BBQ sauce to 1 ketchup for that congealed look). I enlist the help of Nancy’s husband, Wiley Wally, to be the official photographer. Devious Dan calls on Friday; it will happen this weekend, and we all await.

It’s Saturday. Dan calls and figures he can get Bob and Karin off-site this morning. Dan calls back: Bob and friend Jimmy stayed up until 3am doing shots (Note to novice campers: typical male camper behavior, if you can get away with it!) and are sleeping it off. We plan for the afternoon; Dan has cleverly decided to cook beer-can chicken and insist all be at his site at 2:30 for appetizers. He will find an excuse to meet me at Bob & Karin’s site. Dan calls back at 2:15: Bob and Jimmy decided to have some hair-of-the-dogs and are now asleep again (not together). We decide to go ahead and just walk quietly.

Dan meets me at the campground gate. "They woke up," he says. "But it’s OK—they want to be in on it."

Problems ensue on-site. The recent rain has befuddled the ground, and we can’t make a decent print. Dan breaks a cougar-cast trying to stab the stubborn dirt, but continues on with Bob and Jimmy, digging the ground to loosen it up, while I scratch out more prints with a pocketknife. Josephine fur is added to each print, and more strands are wedged onto steps and deck. I make a blood & hair mixture on a paper napkin and set it on the deck; a lengthy discussion about the too-obvious napkin eventually is solved when Jimmy moves it to the ground near the fire pit. I guess it does seem more logical. We forego the fake ‘urine’ on the deck and muddy prints on the patio door, since Bob, fully awake, realizes he will have to clean it up. The next discussion involves Wiley Wally’s role. Noticing Wally’s official-looking camera, Jimmy suggests Wally present himself as an agent of the DNR, here to inspect recent cougar sightings. We are ready.

Dan calls his wife Sue, whom he admits he let in on the plan, as well as his daughter, Megan. "Tell Karin they just spotted a big cat at her site!" he tells her. We figure they will be here within seconds and take our places quickly—Dan’s site is only a minute away. I hide in the shed. And we wait fifteen minutes.

Jimmy: "What’s taking them so long?"

Bob: "Probably putting on makeup."

Dan: "Probably making another drink."

Dan was correct…

Karin, Sue, Megan, as well as June, Sue’s neighbor, finally show up in a burst of golf-cart speed, abandoning the cart in the middle of the road as they rush over to the group of men staring intently at cougar prints leading up to Karin’s deck. (Wally later admits he kept his head down with his camera lens aimed at a print to hide his laughter). I didn’t catch all the conversations, due to my own sniggling in the shed, but here’s what I got, and I must give due credit to the boys out there who kept a straight face and kept Karin going.

What I heard:

Karin: "Oh my God! Bob, get some Baggies--we need to preserve this DNA evidence! Oh, and look! It’s been up on my deck! Bob, we need to pack up and go right now—it will eat our dogs!"

June: "We’re going now, too…this is dangerous!"

Karin: "But why is there hair in the prints?"

Bob: "It’s Spring—it’s shedding."

Karin: "And why is there blood on that napkin?"

Jimmy: "It…must be a female!"

Karin (to Wally): "How did you get here so fast? Have you been tracking this cougar? Why didn’t you warn me about it? And what are you going to do about this? Shouldn’t you be gathering evidence or something?"

At this point Karin’s primordial fight-or-flight instinct went a full 360. She began to stomp her feet and railed her clenched fists at the adjoining woods. "You, cougar! You hear me?!" she shouted. "I’m going to beat the (expletive deleted) out of you! Show your furry face, you…you…you trespasser!"

Or something to that effect. After Karin insisted again that she and Bob leave RIGHT NOW, I had to come out of the shed. Once again I state that Karin is a good sport, and she did not throw anything at me, except a digit, which I am immune to by now. So thank you Karin, and by the way I will have many candid photos (courtesy of Wally Piper) of you and the escapade on the Scoop site by the time you read this. And thank you, fellow connivers, for a good time.

PS: It looks bad for Devious Dan. Karin’s final remark: "You’d better watch your back, Dan Ross! It’s a long summer."

HELP WANTED! I want you to be aware of a very serious wrongdoing at The Beverage Mart (liquor store). Recent new co-owner Susan Lovelace was promised a digital flat-screen TV to replace the old analog ten-inch if she would do most of the retail work. But as of now, weeks later, Susan and the other hard-working womenfolk tending the register are still being forced to watch Days Of Our Lives and endless AMC movies on that same old TV! So I have decided to take action. I have placed a plastic donation cup by the register. All I ask is that you donate one lousy nickel to Susie’s TV Fund. This is entirely my doing. Husband Ron Jr. says it is embarrassing, and wants no part of it, but I say: Gentlemen, this way you can quickly check out the game while you pick up that extra bottle of wine for the Lady. See it big or see it small, it’s your choice, pal. One nickel is all I ask. Each time, of course…just 35 cents a week, like I do.

THREE LAST THINGS: First, have a great summer! And let’s be careful out there, eh? Animals abound. Secondly, check out Scoop’s ‘Drink, Dance, & Dine’, a helpful reference guide to fun things to do in Milton, Janesville, and surrounding areas. Thirdly, email Scoop with your own Camp Sightings—rat out your friends: scoop@scoopjackson.net. See more Scoop and ‘Drink & Dine’ at www.scoopjackson.net.




SCOOP’S HANDY WILDLIFE REFERENCE GUIDE Carry at all times…it could save your life!


     Coyote                     Cougar                                    Puma                        Panther

Note: all photos copyright by whoever makes these things.



While searching for a 'Panther' picture to use for my Handy Reference Guide, I came across this one:


I thought it quite clever to use this one instead of The Pink Panther until, after repeated verbal palm-thrusts to my forehead by Mrs. Scoop, I was convinced I might be asking for trouble. Since I always carry my own Handy Reference Guide, this could cause me grievous harm if it ever fell out of my pocket at the wrong place, say, Billy Bob's Rib Shack in Alabama. So thanks, Mrs. Scoop.

          Here's something else that I left out. During this same research, I came across Bobby Seale's website. If you are a Gen X, this is going to go right over your head, so just skip this paragraph. But if you are a Baby Boomer, let me just say right now that if it were “Hamburgers With Huey” or “Cookin’ With (Eldridge) Cleaver” I wouldn’t mention this. But since Bobby Seale, in retrospect, was mainly a factor for good, not evil, except for that one little murder trial that resulted in a hung jury, I feel comfortable in mentioning that he has some really great BBQ recipes on his site at www.bobbyqueseale.com, “Barbeque’n With Bobby.” You might even want to buy his BBQ book. Here’s a sample for a rib marinade:


1 cup cider or red wine vinegar

1 cup fresh lemon juice, seeded

1/2 cup (4 ounces) pure hickory liquid smoke

2 tablespoons liquid garlic or 1 garlic clove, minced

4 tablespoons liquid onion or 1 cup finely chopped onions

2 bay leaves

1 quart water

Combine all ingredients in a 3-quart pot on high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Yields 1 1/2 quarts


             Bobby Seale (1987)

Rare Exclusive Cougar Prank Photos!  


       Hard at work...                                                            This will fool anybody...not!


    Karin is startled.                                              Karin discovers the truth!


      Karin points the accusing finger.                             Jimmy, Devious Dan, and Bob


                Wiley Wally                                                  "You'd better watch out, Dan Ross!"

photos by Wally Piper & Scoop

     Thank You, Karin!!!       Home