By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Nov 21, 2013 at 5:07 AM Photography:

The opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, its advertisers or editorial staff.

As the holiday season approaches it seems like life just gets more hectic almost every day. And all that hectic runs through my mind with a speed that is shocking.

What that means, of course, is that I’ve got way too much on my mind.

Some examples...

As hard as this might be to believe, it is a distinct possibility that Paul Ryan and Scott Walker will face off for the Republican party’s presidential nomination.

Ryan has shown his face in Iowa, a traditional launching pad for people who want to be president. Walker is getting a stunning amount of national attention. He has written a book, almost a prerequisite for running for president. Last week on the ABC's Sunday morning "This Week" show, there was an incredibly flattering, long, long piece on Walker, both as a governor and as a possible presidential candidate.

I think both of these men are darlings of the Tea Party, which continues to strangle the Republican party in its wacko grip. By the time the elections roll around the Tea Party should be solidly in control of the party.

What it may well come down to is a battle between the entrenched Washington insider, Ryan, and the deeply principled outsider, Walker.

It’s going to bring lots of attention to Wisconsin, but it’s attention I could easily live without.

On an unrelated matter, let me say that I’m not a Pope-aholic. Oh, I pay attention when they are choosing a new pope but after that my interest kind of fades.

But this Pope Francis has done some interesting things, including his gestures toward the poor, the afflicted, the criminal and the lonely. He doesn’t live in that obnoxious extravagant apartment other popes have lived in. He drives his own car.

And now he’s taken the major step of ordering a survey of Catholics around the world, including the Milwaukee archdiocese, to determine how they feel about the church’s position on a wide array of social issues.

They are apparently going to ask about gay marriage, birth control, divorce and other issues.

What they apparently are not going to ask about is the horrible complicit silence of congregants over decades of priestly abuse of children. Maybe they should have a question like, "Do you think we should be ashamed of ourselves?"

And finally some politics and a candidate who needs some professional help.

Mary Burke is a member of the famed Burke family that built a tiny bike maker in Waterloo into a global bike manufacturing force.

She is also running for governor, planning on running against Scott Walker. She is a Democrat. She’s got a lot going for her.

She’s very good looking (and don’t underestimate that in a candidate). She’s got a ton of her own money. She’s got some experience in politics and she’s a big deal businesswoman.

But she’s falling into one of my least favorite traps.

She posts on Facebook and other places and urges readers to "Call Scott Walker and tell him…" You can fill in the blank. Then she gives a phone number. Are there really any people who think that if they call that number Walker is going to get on the phone?

It’s a hackneyed political trick and not worthy of a new candidate.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.