I believe the next Franklin school referendum, whatever it is, will be approved, however…

Consider this:

A MacIver Institute analysis has found that referendums held during Gov. Walker’s administration were 20-25 percent less likely to pass if held on the same day as a regular election.

Regular elections were defined as any statewide election. These included the spring and fall primaries, the general election in November, and any statewide elections like the 2011 Governor’s recall election.


The referendums held during the Walker administration are generally smaller and far more likely to be approved than those held during the Doyle years.

Read the entire analysis here.

Good news for supporters of Ballpark Commons in Franklin


From the Milwaukee Business Journal:

Zimmerman (Mike, owner of the Rock Sports Complex), in a Monday email to the Milwaukee Business Journal, said “early signs are really good,” and he anticipates meeting all of the city’s conditions of approval for the project.

“We met with neighbors to tweak our design and address concerns they communicated, and most importantly, our negations with possible anchor tenants are progressing better than expected, which I believe further demonstrates the market will support the vision and project,” Zimmerman wrote.

Exhaustive info the Franklin Common Council will consider Tuesday:



My Most Popular Blogs (06/27/16)

My most popular blogs from last week, Sunday – Saturday:

1) UPDATE: Thoughts on the inevitable Franklin referendum

2) 21 years is a long time in television

3) Best Cartoons of the Week (06/25/16)

4) Congratulations to Franklin and the award-winning Kayla’s Playground!

5) Have you checked out my wife’s blog lately?

6) UPDATE: The opposite of NIMBY

7) The latest pro-life news (06/20/16)

8) Photos of the Week (06/19/160)

9) The Barking Lot – America’s Finest Dog Blog (06/25/16)

10)There are no excuses for leaving a child to die in a hot car



Culinary no-no #478


Back in the mid-80’s when I was working at WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio Sam Twining of Twinings Tea visited our studio.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and beardMr. and Mrs. Sam Twing

 From the Twinings website:

The Twinings story began in 1706, when Thomas Twining opened the House of Twinings in the old Tom’s Coffee House on London’s Strand.  By 1717, Thomas’ shop evolved into London’s very first exclusive tea shop, then called The Golden Lyon.  In an age where coffee shops were prevalent, Thomas worked tirelessly to bring his love of tea to the people of London. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

More than 300 years later, the vision of one man – to sell only the finest teas, herbs and infusions available – remains. We still sell tea from Thomas’ original shop, but now tea drinkers in more than 115 countries around the world enjoy 200 varieties of Twinings tea.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Sam Twining, now retired,  some 30 years ago. Somewhere buried in my basement is an avalanche of cassette tapes. One of them has that interview and subsequent edited piece that aired on WUWM.

My interview style usually, not always, started off with an ice-breaker, a simple easy question to get things rolling. Do you ever stray, break down and  succumb to Lipton’s, I asked Mr. Twining. I’ll never forget his completely genteel refined British response.

“We don’t ever mention the ‘L’ word” before bursting into laughter which brought instant relief to yours truly who thought for a brief moment I had offended.

Our house always has Lipton tea bags at the ready. It’s my drink of choice to get the day going. Lipton plus some half and half. Except now that hot weather has descended. We regularly take 10-12 tea bags, put them in a jar and place on our backyard patio very early in the day. By nightfall you have perfect sun tea.


Poured over a glass of ice, that’s how my mornings get revved up these days.

Oh, I am a coffee drinker. I just prefer tea upon stumbling out of the sack.

My wife is like millions of other addicted souls. She has to, let me re-state that, she HAS TO HAVE COFFEE when waking up. Jennifer’s admitted dependence on the bean isn’t necessarily bad. Not at all.

And while I understand that so many are so hooked, there are times I don’t understand.

Like here.

And then there’s this. For many, many years I worked as a legislative aide in the state Capitol in Madison. During that time we saw some spikes in one particular product’s prices: gas.

People I worked with in the Capitol, like millions of others all across America, moaned and groaned and complained about the ever-increasing burden of filling up their tanks.

Some of these same folks, despite their grumbling, could somehow easily find personal funding to make more than one daily purchase of that other commodity. And you could set your watch to them from my vantage point in my state Capitol office. Just across the street was….

Can you imagine the business that place does?

With gas prices spiraling out of control, some Capitol staffers I knew would make a daily ritual of parading to the Starbucks pictured above, usually more than once.

Late in the 70’s and early in my broadcast career at WUWM, I was dispatched to an east side Milwaukee location to do a Q and A with customers about the upcoming closing of the A & P stores.

I think I developed an instant hate for this kind of story that day. This isn’t riveting, compelling, hard-hitting journalism. Do you know how many yahoo’s you have to interview before you can get a reasonable sample of sound bites that is broadcast quality?

After getting permission from store management to comb the aisles, I recall shoppers either knew about the demise of A & P and were just plain sad, or were totally taken aback by the news and were shocked.

One of the stunned parties I met was an antique of a woman, frail and feeble. Should I approach her? Will she be frightened, intimidated, and just tell me to take a hike?

Why not? I could get one of two answers.

The elderly gem was a sweetheart, my best interview of the day.

For her, the closing of the A & P was more than just a business shutting down. This posed a dramatic and serious change to her lifestyle.

In a shaky and very old-sounding voice (remember, this was radio so audio was critical), the woman expressed deep sorrow and near pain.

How am I going to live, she asked directly into my microphone.

And then she referred to a specific product.

To her, an amazing elixir.

A life-saving liquid.

And then, the magical quote, the one that when your interviewee utters it, in the back of your mind, you’re going,


In a voice that was impossible not to sympathize with, the woman implored:

“I love my Eight O’Clock coffee. I need my Eight O’Clock coffee.”

When that sound bite was broadcast, how many listeners could empathize.

That was 1978.

Fast forward to my working days in the state Capitol.

Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

The economy is in the toilet.

Consumers, if not government, are tightening their belts.

Gasoline at one time was over $4 a gallon.

And yet, where I worked, lowly state employees, each and every day, right about the same time, they would high tail it out of the Capitol to that oasis just across the street.

Like the ancient woman I questioned more than 30 years ago, they suffer the same angst.

Gotta have it.

Gotta have it.

Just …gotta… have… it.

This went on two, three, four times a day. At $4 a crack, we’re talking $16/day.


Don’t be moanin’ about the price of petrol folks.

Yes, the lure of the bean is addicting. Surveys indicate coffee drinkers would give up the beverage, but it had better be for something of incredible value, like lottery ticket winnings for a decade.

Starbucks knows they’ve got you. Can’t help yourselves. You are under their spell. They don’t have to come up with creative measures to get you into the stores. Like hypnotized zombies, you’re already there!

We’ll get back to Starbucks in a bit.

This is not say I dislike coffee and haven’t paid a hefty price myself.

Here’s a fancy schmantzy restaurant Jennifer and I have been fortunate to patronize on a few occasions.



They’ve got this Hawaiian Kona Chocolate Souffle.


Just inside the restaurant…


Not far outside the restaurant…


What is it?


Where is it?


At the elegant Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World in Florida. I  the land of Mickey ear ice cream and turkey legs and hot dogs and funnel cakes, Victoria and Albert’s always wins major awards and mega diamonds and stars.

Because we’re talking coffee this mucho expensive dining spot has good coffee, really good coffee.

Coffee Maker in Victoria and Albert's photo IMG_3015_zps9a60dcc6.jpg

What the heck is that? Looks like something out of the Jetsons.


To explain I turn to the website Nerds in Wonderland:

Rounding out our meal was dessert and coffee service. The coffee service was something that caught my eye when we first sat down; the restaurant uses a Victorian contraption known as the Cona Coffee Maker to make coffee tableside. The Cona uses vacuum pressure to brew the coffee, and is supposed to give you a perfect cup of java because the coffee never comes in contact with metal or paper, both of which can alter the flavor of the grounds. And, while normally I wouldn’t drink regular coffee at 11:30pm (seriously!), I did on this evening, and it was fantastic.

This night out costs hundreds of dollars, but you’re getting multiple gourmet courses with wine pairings, so the coffee is not just a nice touch, it’s a great touch.

Back to Starbucks. I blogged about the chain in 2012:

Starbucks has unveiled its new Costa Rica Finca Palmilera. It’s made with some exotic bean meaning, of course we’re going to soak you maroons as much as we can because, DOH, you’ll be stupid enough to buy it.

Cost a grande (that’s Starbucks-ese for a 16-ounce cup), $7.

Starbucks justifies the high price that the $7 coffee made from Geisha beans is OK because Geisha plants don’t produce many cherries, making the beans extremely rare and also full of concentrated flavor.

$7 bucks for of a cup of coffee?

Isn’t the McDonald’s stuff just as good?


It better be Irish coffee!

All you Starbucks worshippers, don’t believe any of their spin about Geisha beans. It’s a load of crapola. C’mon, those of you in the beads and sandals crowd. Don’t you recognize corporate greed when you see it? The Wall Street Journal reports:

“Starbucks’ new ultra-premium coffee costs more than three times as much as its standard brew — a price experts say is highly over-caffeinated.”

Ya think?

Back to the WSJ:

“While the Costa Rica Finca Palmilera beans which went on sale at select locations this week are expensive — they come from a relatively rare cherry of the Gesha tree — the 16-ounce cup should cost just one dollar more than a regular cup of coffee, including the company’s overhead, says James Freeman, owner and CEO of Blue Bottle Coffee. (The price of Starbucks’ regular Grande coffee is $2.20 in New York.) Freeman should know: his chain also charges $7 for a similar cup of Gesha coffee. In fact, an 80% markup is standard in the coffee business on the higher-end brews, he says. Joseph Brodsky, founder and president at Ninety Plus Coffee, which supplies beans to coffee shops in 30 countries, says the new coffee only costs Starbucks an extra $1.30 per cup.”
–December 2, 2012.

$7 a cup? A lot can change in 4 years.

Regular readers of Culinary no-no know that I constantly violate a journalistic rule. I BURY the lead. That’s so as not to give it away. And besides. It’s my blog. Thus the long intro before we get to the no-no. And this week’s case, an ultra long intro.

OK, kept you waiting long enough.

This week’s no-no comes from the place where many Culinary no-no items originate.





Did someone mention Starbucks?


Photos of the Week (06/26/16)

1) Employees and volunteers with Main Street Motors attempt to get company documents out of the building on June 24 in Richwood, W.Va., after the company’s building was knocked off its foundation by extensive flooding and hanging off the side of a hill. Photo: Rick Barbero / The Register-Herald via AP

2) Rob Morissin stands among the aftermath of a rockslide caused by severe flooding that poured into a property owned by his family since the 1930’s in Richwood, W.Va.  Photo: Christian Tyler Randolph / Charleston Gazette-Mail – AP

3) A dog guards the front steps of its home that was swept away by floodwaters in White Sulphur Springs. Photo: Steve Helber / AP

4) Rebellious Democrats shut down the House’s legislative work on June 22, staging a sit-in on the House floor and refusing to leave until they secured a vote on gun control measures before lawmakers’ week-long break. The dramatic action came just as the House presiding officer moved to declare the body in recess. Photo: AFP – Getty Images

5) At around 10 p.m., House Speaker Paul Ryan gavels the House into session Wednesday night. The sit-in was well into its 10th hour, with Democrats camped out on the floor stopping legislative business in the House, when Ryan stepped to the podium to gavel the House into session and hold votes on routine business. Photo: AP

6) Angry Democrats chanted “No bill, no break!” and waved pieces of paper with the names of gun victims, continuing their protest in the well of the House even as the House voted on a previously scheduled and unrelated measure to overturn an Obama veto. AP

7) A group of protesters wave Mexican flags on the hillside above the Trump International Golf Links minutes before the arrival of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, north of Aberdeen, Scotland. Trump hailed Britain’s vote to leave the EU as “fantastic” shortly after arriving in Scotland on Friday for his first international trip since becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Photo: MICHAL WACHUCIK / AFP – Getty Images

8) Club goers embrace at the approximate time one week ago that the Pulse nightclub mass shooting began as the music is turned off on the dance floor to observe a moment of silence at Parliament House, an LGBT nightclub early Sunday, June 19, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

9) Firefighters move to try and head off a fast moving wildfire as it burns near Potero, California. Photo: Mike Blake / Reuters

10) A full moon rises behind Glastonbury Tor as people gather to celebrate the summer solstice on June 20, 2016 in Somerset, England. The June full moon was refered to as “Strawberry Moon” by Algonquin tribe of indigenous Americans because it occurred around the time the strawberries were being picked. Photo: Matt Cardy / Getty Images

11) The moon rises above skyscrapers in Manhattan, New York.  Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

12) A mother walks with her daughter through a lavender field at “Lavender Fest,” in Chisinau, Moldova, on June 18. Photo: DUMITRU DORU / EPA

13) Ugly dog contestants Sweepee Rambo and owner Jason Wurtz celebrate winning the 2016 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California, on June 24. Photo: PETER DASILVA / EPA

14) U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer Constantino Zarate tries to herd an emu off the highway as a wildfire continues to burn north of the Mexican border near Potrero, California. Photo: Mike Blake / Reuters

15) A giant panda named Ya Li gave birth to twins in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. They are the first giant panda twins of 2016 anywhere in the world. Photo: China Daily / Reuters

16) A red panda peeks out of its Halle, Germany, zoo enclosure. Photo: Trax / Startraksphoto.com

17) Tafari and Zola’s first encounter with a duck at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

Photo: Zoo Facebook.


About that flag at Iwo Jima

A mom, her daughter, and a toilet seat