Culinary no-no #547


It’s obligatory when a year ends. No matter what the category, industry, business, etc, there are predictions by so-called “experts.”  Food is no exception.

One of the food trends for 2018 is more “mindful” eating.

For 2018 that has a specific meaning, according to

Mindfulness reflects a new consumer attitude, mostly led by millennials, to truly understand everything possible about a particular food or beverage and then support the company, whether it be a brand or a retailer, by aligning with its values and supporting it with purchases.

Innova Market Insights named “mindfulness” its #1 trend for 2018, illustrating how that body-mind connection is influencing new food and beverage product introductions in the supermarket. Seven of 10 U.S. and U.K. consumers want to know and understand an ingredient list. Food and beverage brand introductions that feature ethical claims on their packages have increased seven-fold since 2010, and these human, environmental and animal ethical claims continue to grow in popularity.

That’s not what “mindful” meant in 2016. I blogged at the start of that year that also referred back to a blog in 2010. It will all make sense, trust me.

It’s January 2016…

As we begin a new year, could we possibly turn a Culinary no-no into a Culinary yes-yes in 2016? Could we, please?

Let’s start with a large chunk of a Culinary no-no published back on Easter in 2010:

Several years ago, my wife, Jennifer and I were having a blast in central Florida…

At the Islands of Adventure theme park at Universal Orlando…..

That has what could be the best attraction in any theme park in the world…..


Naturally, we head over to the Lost Continent section of the theme park because it boasts having….

Better than Disneyland.

Better than Disney World.

The restaurant is called, “Mythos.” Travel writer Kelly Monaghan is the word about Orlando’s other theme parks. Monaghan writes the following about Mythos in his book, “Universal Orlando 2009”:

“The Lost Continent boasts the best restaurant in Universal Orlando’s two theme parks — Mythos, which is possibly the best restaurant in any theme park in the world. This upscale restaurant is the feather in Islands of Adventure’s culinary cap.

In keeping with the unspeakably ancient theme of the island, it is housed (if that’s the right word) in an extinct volcano with water cascading down its weathered slopes. Step inside and you’ve entered a sea cavern whose sinuous walls have been carved out and smoothed by centuries of surging waves. Eerie yet soothing music tinkles through the air. In the main dining room, the cavern’s roof vaults skyward and a large windowed opening gives out onto the lagoon and a spacious outdoor seating area. Subterranean streams run between the handsome seating areas, with seats upholstered in regal purple. The walls take on the shapes of long-vanished gods and their spirit minions. The effect is only a step or two this side of awesome. Decor like this is a hard act to follow and you find yourself wondering if the food can rise to the level of your heightened expectations.

Not to worry. The cuisine produced under the direction of chef Mark Wachowiak pays homage to the hallmarks of contemporary cuisine — intriguing combinations of ingredients and flavors, dazzling presentations — and still manages to taste, well, just plain yummy.”

Monaghan’s description is fitting, but words cannot capture how unusually striking the décor is at Mythos.

So, we bring you…

Pictures, and take you inside this architectural wonder.

Nice, huh.

So, Jennifer and I are seated and we look over to a nearby booth.

And there is a gentleman in the 40-45 year old range seated on one side and across the booth from him are what we assumed to be his two sons, both in their teens.

They had been seated before us, and dad had a phone in his ear.

And though I don’t make it a habit of staring at another restaurant table, it was difficult not to notice that the “Father of the year” rarely made eye contact with his two sons and said literally nothing to them because he never, ever was off his cell phone.

This went on for 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 45 minutes and more.

This poor sap of a parent completely ignored his sons, giving more attention to the waitress. My heart went out to those two teenage boys. They sat sullenly for the entire lunch, appearing as though they had been grounded for the rest of the year.

Interaction between the family members: Extremely close to nothing. The man’s cell phone was damn near glued to his ear.

That was years ago. Cell phones in restaurants are 100% annoying and common today.

Plus, there’s an additional twist these days. People can and do engage in TWE….that’s texting while eating.

Look around the next time you dine out at the alarming number of folks who are shunning their dinner mates because they’re on the phone with someone else.

Farhad Manjoo recently wrote on

“I got into an argument over this scenario on Twitter. The discussion was sparked by the New York Times‘ Nick Bilton, who, in an online chat with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, argued that texting in company is becoming more and more socially acceptable. Bilton, who is 33 and is both a user interface designer and a journalist, says that he wouldn’t check his phone if he were at lunch with his boss, but he has no problem doing so when he’s eating with tech-savvy people his own age. Bilton even texts while at dinner with his wife—sometimes so intensely that she has to (jokingly, I assume) text him to get his attention.

I was surprised. My wife and I are around Bilton’s age, and I’m thoroughly addicted to e-mail, IM, and everything else on my phone. But in my house, texting at dinner would be considered a grave slight. Indeed, reaching for the phone while my wife and I are chatting is a no-no. And it’s not just a special concession we make for each other—I don’t like to send text messages when I’m having a face-to-face conversation with anyone.

When I made this point on Twitter—that people should never look at their phones at dinner and that they should at least ask permission if it’s an “emergency”—several techies thought I was nuts.”

Rare is the time a family gets together and all eat dinner at the same table at the same time. Today, Easter Sunday is one of those occasions.

Imagine as the scalloped potatoes are being passed, a family member or two starts texting. Such conduct is off the rudeness charts, completely disrespectful to everyone else at the table.

Slate is asking readers for suggested rules regarding TWD, texting while dining. Farhad Manjoo is 100% on the money. When dining out or at the dining room table at home, unless there is a stop the world emergency erupting, texting should NEVER be permissible.

However, if you simply can’t survive without making that text because goodness knows the world revolves around you and some other person that was not invited, kindly excuse yourself from the table, leave the room, and do your business elsewhere.
—This Just In, April 4, 2010

So, the no-no is clear.

Barb Stuckey is onto something. Stuckey is the Chief Innovation Officer at Mattson, a Silicon Valley food innovation and development firm. She’s also the author of TASTE: Surprising Stories and Science About Why Food Tastes Good and a contributor to

In her online post predicting food trends in 2016 Stuckey offers a simple solution to the above no-no.

Be mindful.

Great idea, but unfortunately I doubt Stuckey’s suggestion (#8) will catch on.
—Culinary no-no #454, Jan. 3, 2016

That was 2016.

Now we’re told my Forbes that “mindful” in 2018 won’t mean paying attention to the people at your table, but paying attention to everything that’s in your meal.

In 2018 we’re told a major trend, maybe the #1 trend will be doing homeowrk, knowing everything about what’s in the meal you’re ordering, the calories, the fat content, what the ingredients are, where the ingredients came from,  the impact on the planet, etc.

This I do not need.

When I go out to eat I go to a familiar place or one I’ve checked out where I can be comfortable,  relax, unwind, choose from the menu I know I’ll like, and enjoy my experience.

I do not homework. I do want to study.  I do not want to be submerged with data. I do not want to analyze. I could care less about the calorie count. I do want to discuss with a nutritionist on site. I want to select what I want, eat what I want, and do so without even one iota of guilt.

That’s a trend coming in 2018. Thank you, you dopy millennials.

Here’s another trend you should be aware of. The senses.

In packaged foods and in stores, possibly not here because we often lag behind the coasts,  there will be a marketing ploy utilizing sounds like slurping, chewing, whispering and the crinkling of packaging.  You’ll be so tantalized you’ll be dancing to the checkout line.

Also, to be brief, expect more lecturing on nutrition, and that makes sense, because the government (wishful thinking?) might get more involved in regulation if the experts are correct.

Read more about potential food trends in 2018 from Forbes.


Food swamps

Farmers markets are racist?


One of my favorite no-no blogs the past year.



Photos of the Week (12/31/17)

1) Miami Hurricanes fan Lowell Carr is shot by Wisconsin Badgers fan Kayla McNab with a champagne machine gun as the teams play in the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on December 30, 2017. Photo:  CHARLES TRAINOR JR, Miami Herald

2) Miami Hurricanes’ Sheldick Redwine (22) fails to stop Wisconsin Badgers’ A.J. Taylor as he catches a second quarter touchdown in the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on December 30, 2017. Photo: CHARLES TRAINOR JR, Miami Herald

3) Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver A.J. Taylor (4) scores on a pass reception in the end zone as Miami Hurricanes defensive back Sheldrick Redwine (22) defends in the second quarter as the University of Miami takes on the Wisconsin Badgers in the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, December 30, 2017. Photo: AL DIAZ, Miami Herald

4) Miami Hurricanes Dee Delaney (3) fails to stop Wisconsin Badgers Danny Davis III (6) from catching a second quarter touchdown in the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on December 30, 2017. Photo: CHARLES TRAINOR JR, Miami Herald

5) Wisconsin Badgers cornerback Derrick Tindal (25) intercepts the ball in the endzone intended for Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Lawrence Cager (18) in the third quarter as the University of Miami takes on the Wisconsin Badgers in the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, December 30, 2017. Photo: AL DIAZ, Miami Herald

6) Miami Hurricanes Travis Homer (24) watches as Wisconsin Badgers Ryan Connelly (43) intercepts the ball late in the fourth quarter to defeat the Canes in the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl, 34-24 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on December 30, 2017. Photo: CHARLES TRAINOR JR, Miami Herald

7) Head coach Paul Chryst of the Wisconsin Badgers is interviewed following the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl.  Photo: Rob Foldy, Getty Images

8) Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Alex Hornibrook holds the MVP trophy after defeating the Miami Hurricanes in the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on December 30, 2017, 34-24. Photo: CHARLES TRAINOR JR, Miami Herald

9) Visitors take photographs at the brink of the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls as cold weather spreads through much of the province on Dec. 29. A bitter Arctic chill settled across Canada and much of the United States, forcing people indoors, leaving motorists stranded with dead car batteries and complicating firefighting duties. Photo: Aaron Lynett / The Canadian Press via AP

10) In Quebec a person rides through the Lanoraie forest on a dogsled on Dec. 28 in Lanoraie. Environment Canada increased the number of extreme cold warnings around the country, bulletins issued only when the cold “creates an elevated risk to health such as frost bite and hypothermia.” The Arctic temperatures are expected to last into early 2018, Environment Canada said. Timothy A. Clary / AFP – Getty Images

11) Thomas Berry removes snow from the sidewalk in front of his home after two days of record-breaking snowfall in Erie, Pennsylvania, on December 27, 2017. Photo: Robert Frank / Reuters

12) Erie residents on East 24th Street dig out on Dec. 26 after a record two-day snowfall. The National Weather Service office in Cleveland says the storm brought 34 inches on Christmas Day, a new all-time daily snowfall record for Erie. Photo: Greg Wohlford / Erie Times-News via AP

13) Lake Michigan is steaming in the morning as temperatures dipped below zero at North Avenue Beach on Dec. 26 in Chicago. Photo: Nancy Stone / AP

14) Pedestrians stand around the scene of a bus crash in Moscow, Russia, on December 25, 2017. Several people were killed and more than a dozen injured when a bus careened off a road and onto steps leading into an underground passageway, authorities said.  Photo: Ivan Sekretarev / AP

15) In Gloucestershire, England, sheep are driven to another field in the snowy Cotswolds. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

16) A dog dressed as Santa Claus takes part in the annual city race in Skopje, Macedonia, on December 24, 2017. Ognen Teofilovski / Reuters

17) The aurora borealis illuminate the sky in Inari, Finland. Photograph: Irene Stachon/Reuters

18) President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump speak on the phone with children as they track Santa’s movements with the North American Aerospace Defense Command Santa tracker on Christmas Eve at the president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida on Dec. 24. Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP

19) Christian worshippers pray at the Church of the Nativity, accepted by Christians as the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in Bethlehem on Dec. 24. Photo: Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA

20) Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi Christmas day blessing from the main balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Dec. 25, 2017. Photo: L’Osservatore Romano via AP

21) Faithful pray beneath a painting depicting Jesus Christ during midnight Mass at the Nuestra Senora Del Carmen Church on Dec. 24, in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. The Mass finished well before midnight this year to accommodate those who live in areas without electricity. The church ran the Mass with a generator. Barely three months after Hurricane Maria made landfall, approximately one-third of the devastated island is still without electricity. Photo: Mario Tama / Getty Images

22) A member of the U.S. Army receives a gift from Santa during Christmas celebrations in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Dec. 25.  Mohammad Ismail / Reuters

23) In Chitwan, Nepal, a peacock spreads its feathers. Photograph: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

24) Newborn babies wearing dog costumes to celebrate the New Year of the Dog are pictured in the nursery room of Paolo Chokchai 4 Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 28, 2017. Photo: Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters

25) People sit stranded in the It’s a Small World ride during a power outage at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in this December 27, 2017, picture obtained from social media. Photographer Geoff Fienberg said that the ride was immobilized for about 25 minutes, but the Small World music was unaffected by the outage, and continued to play the entire time. Photo: Geoff Fienberg / Reuters






50 years ago today, an unsung Ice Bowl hero

Somewhere buried in my basement are countless tapes of my reporting on WTMJ and WUWM, including an interview I did with former Green Bay Packer great Jerry Kramer.

We met at a local bookstore in the early to mid-80’s and talked about a number of topics  like the famous Ice Bowl played at Lambeau Field against the Dallas Cowboys 50 years ago today.

Kramer had a key block in the final seconds near the goal line in the December 31, 1967 classic, and he told me a story about it that I had never heard before.

The game was for the NFL Championship. The winner would go to the Super Bowl.

Dangerous frigid conditions were the big story as both teams struggled throughout. Green Bay found itself trailing 17-14 late, but managed a late drive down to inside the Dallas 1-yard line.

The Packers called their final timeout and QB Bart Starr trotted over to the sideline to get final instructions.

Kramer told me that legendary coach Vince Lombardi was yelling at his offense in a huddle, begging for a suggested play.

“Has anybody got something? Anything!”

According to Kramer the Packer offense, loaded with stars merely looked down at their shoes, offering the same non-response when Lombardi screamed the question a second time.

Starr once told the Associated Press “We ran out of ideas. We were stumped for something to do.”

Then an unexpected voice broke the silence.

Kramer said during our interview that lineman Gale Gillingham told the team to have Starr sneak the ball behind Kramer, and that’s exactly what happened.

Touchdown. Packers survive. They go on to a Super Bowl victory.

Over the years some have claimed Starr was supposed to hand off to running back Chuck Mercein, but on his own improvised and kept the football.

Not by Kramer’s recollection.

And it was Gillingham who actually called the winning TD, executed by a perfect Kramer block that will be remembered forever.

Gillingham died at his home in Minnesota while lifting weights in 2011. He was 67.

Inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1982, Gillingham was Green Bay’s first-round draft choice and 13th overall in 1966 from the University of Minnesota. He played off the bench as a rookie and took veteran Fuzzy Thurston’s spot during the 1967 season opposite All-Pro Kramer during the Vince Lombardi era. Gillingham was a five-time Pro Bowler, six-time All Pro and played in 128 regular-season games for the Packers.

Here’s a thought, prompted by the Packer schedule this year.

Oct 8 WIN Packers 35 Cowboys 31

Hindsight suggests the NFL schedulers fumbled the ball.

A great idea would have been to have the Packers and Cowboys meet this season, not in Dallas, but in Green Bay today, on the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest pro football games.

Instead we have a rather meaningless encounter with Detroit.

Here are more details about the Ice Bowl from the AP.


Franklin taxes went up again this year.

That’s not exactly a news bulletin. However there were some noteworthy developments regarding taxes in 2017 leaving beleaguered Franklin taxpayers angry and frustrated …again.

Normally the Franklin School Board members play the role of tax gougers when it’s budget time. Surprisingly the school property tax levy went up 1.1% and that’s because   this is the first year of repayment of debt on the new middle school project approved by voters in a referendum.

City of Franklin taxes went up 2.5%. Mayor Steve Olson had presented a budget to the Common Council calling for a 3% property tax levy increase.

Olson attempted to defend the tax increase pointing out city taxes had remained the same for the past five years. Thus this year’s proposed 3% increase, if applied to those past five years would amount to a measly .6% increase each year.

In other words, the lowly taxpayer should be appreciative, keep quiet, and sit back and take it (as Franklin taxpayers collectively and historically have done for years and years).

The mayor in his budget proposal claimed there was no fiscally prudent or viable way to freeze city taxes for a sixth year. Maybe so.

But here’s the real kicker that should not and probably won’t be forgotten by even the most apathetic of Franklin property taxpayers.

The mayor’s proposed budget increase comes on the heels of many, many taxpayers getting blasted with massive increases in their property reassessments who feel the increases were unjustified. They can’t be blamed if they sense they were set up.

I find it ironic that when Olson’s predecessor proposed property tax increases, then-Alderman Olson objected.

A 3% increase may not sound like much, but it’s way beyond the inflation rate that is almost zero.

Consider wages that remain stagnant and it becomes increasingly more difficult for taxpayers to pay, a concept that continues to be lost on the part of those with taxing power in Franklin.

The argument that city taxes haven’t gone up  for some time is little if any consolation, not to mention flawed logic. Even without a city increase for five years our city taxes were still frozen during that time frame at an ungodly amount. Would anyone ever consider a tax cut? That only happens under Donald Trump in DC, not in Tax Hell, WI.

About those reassessments. They came in July when the average taxpayer isn’t paying attention. From my blog:

Reassessments just came in the mail, and people are ticked.

Can’t blame them. They’re commenting on social media like crazy about having done zippo on their land and properties, only to see values skyrocket.

Problem: The good citizens will grumble on chat sites, and that will be the end of it. They won’t complain or seek action anywhere else.

Get ready for the bureacrat-ese and excuses.

My favorite of course: It’s the state’s fault.

A  small group of folks on one of the chat sites think these outrageous increases (one as high as $116,000) are hunky dory, that it’s only fair that values are back up to what they were before the housing crisis hit.

Sad to say but in Franklin there’s a a sizeable faction that sits back and takes it. Still others don’t even realize when they’re being screwed.

Again, there’s a feeling that assessments should go up if market values are increasing. That’s the way it should work, right?

Well here’s a lengthy but very interesting piece of investigative journalism demonstrating that despite the housing woes years ago, assessments went up in Wisconsin even though values went down.

You see, they will find a way to fleece you no matter what.

Of course you can always appeal. Yeh, right. And you’re going to win the next Powerball, too.

Incidentally, for the small group of property owners who have taken the Kool-Aid and believe the higher values will automatically result in similar prices if/when they decide to sell, guess again. It’s not guaranteed. Here’s a ReMax flyer we received in the mail today:

ReMax Flyer

Some got what they wanted, but not all.

Seller: Don’t pop the champagne corks based on your love note from Franklin City Hall.
This Just In…July 15, 2017

This is no reason to scalp or gouge people, but it’s happening nonetheless.

Your home value just went through the roof and you want to sell. Terrific, right? Guess again.

Maybe there’s some comfort in the fact we’re not Maryland. Are you ready for this? Paragraph 6 is eye-opening.


During the tax reform debate in November I blogged about this item that enables local and state officials to tax you crazy.

Following passage of tax reform this month there was confusion nationwide about the deduction for state and local taxes. Under the new tax law there’s a $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local taxes. However, the IRS announced this week that filers could only avoid the cap by paying property taxes that have been assessed in 2017. Many local governments, including Franklin, have not completed assessments for upcoming years.

It’s unfortunate that in this fiscally conservative he have people with taxing and spending authority that essentially are not at all fiscally conservative. They have blinders on, either in disbelief that our taxes are obscene, or, if they’re aware,  they simply don’t care.

The topper is Mayor Olson, admittedly of the school of thought that the tax levy is what counts, not the tax rate, but continuing to push a PR campaign emphasizing the tax rate, and misleading the citizenry in the process.

At this rate relief is nowhere in sight.


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2) ?


Week-ends (12/30/17)


A look back at the people and events that made news the past week. Week-ends is a regular weekly feature of This Just In…


Responders to victims of natural disaster… here’s just one example

Firefighters in California

Thanks to President Trump, law enforcement officers

Jonathan Smith and Tom McGrath

Chris Long

The GOP that gave us tax cuts


Marty Schreiber


Mother Nature


Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock

Sexual harassers and their enablers

Athletes refusing to stand for the National Anthem


“This American carnage stops right here.”
Donald Trump as he was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2017. Trump promised his presidency would be the beginning of a turnaround for America’s “forgotten men and women.” After his speech, protesters marched through the streets of Washington, D.C., some clashing with police and destroying property.

“We will soon begin the construction of a great, great wall along our southern border. As we speak tonight, we are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our community and prey on our very innocent citizens, bad ones are going out as I speak. To any in Congress who do not believe we should enforce our laws, I would ask you … what would you say to the American family that loses their jobs … or loved ones because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders.”

“A new chapter of America greatness is now beginning. A new national pride is sweeping across our nation. And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp. What we are witnessing today is a renewal of the American spirit.”

“Tonight I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare… Mandating every American to buy government-approved health insurance was never the right solution for our country. The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost … and that is what we are going to do.”
President Trump in his first address to Congress

“As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first.

“All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens, and the nation-state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition.  

“But making a better life for our people also requires us to work together in close harmony and unity to create a more safe and peaceful future for all people.

“The United States will forever be a great friend to the world, and especially to its allies.  But we can no longer be taken advantage of, or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return.  As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interests above all else.”
President Trump speaking at the UN

“No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea.  It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans, and for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more.

“We were all witness to the regime’s deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America only to die a few days later.  We saw it in the assassination of the dictator’s brother using banned nerve agents in an international airport.  We know it kidnapped a sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl from a beach in her own country to enslave her as a language tutor for North Korea’s spies.

“If this is not twisted enough, now North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life.  

“It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict.  No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.  Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.  The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”
President  Trump speaking at the UN

“Trump is not the president of the world… he can not even manage his own government.”
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza

“The United States has done very well since Election Day last November 8th.  The stock market is at an all-time high — a record.  Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years, and because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before.  Companies are moving back, creating job growth the likes of which our country has not seen in a very long time.  And it has just been announced that we will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense.”
President  Trump speaking at the UN

“I just kind of went in the bedroom, laid down on the bed, just thought ‘OK, I just have to wait this out.’ But then, midnight, I decided, ‘Well, looks like it’s not gonna work.’ I had not drafted a concession speech. I had been working on a victory speech! I just felt this enormous letdown, this kind of loss of feeling and direction and sadness.”
Hillary Clinton

“I have a platform. I won more votes than anybody in American history for president besides President Obama. And I’m going to keep talking and trying to raise the questions that I hope Americans will take seriously and that I hope the press will take seriously, because we’ve got a lot of choppy water ahead of us.”
Hillary Clinton in an interview with NPR’s Rachel Martin

“Although you say you still want a role in shaping the Democratic Party of the future, you’re still going to talk about the issues you find to be important, but there are some Democrats out there saying they don’t want you to do that. That writing this book is opening old wounds, re-litigating a past and it doesn’t help move the party forward. Have you reconciled that, that people might not want you around as the party steps forward?”
NPR’s Rachel Marin questioning Hillary Clinton

“Well, they don’t have to buy my book, and they can turn off the radio when they hear me talking. I’m not going anywhere. I have the experience, I have the insight, I have the scars that I think give me not only the right, but the responsibility to speak out.”
Hillary Clinton responding to Martin

“You ran, you sucked, and you lost to Trump; that’s what happened.”
Columnist Matt Vespa

Even some of Clinton’s allies have grown weary of her insistence on re-litigating the 2016 campaign at a time when the Democratic Party is looking to forge a new identity in the age of Trump.

“The best thing she could do is disappear,” said one former Clinton fundraiser and surrogate who played an active role at the convention. “She’s doing harm to all of us because of her own selfishness. Honestly, I wish she’d just shut the f— up and go away.”
The Hill

“No child should ever feel hungry, stalked, frightened, terrorized, bullied, isolated or afraid, with nowhere to turn. We must teach each child the values of empathy and communication that are at the core of the kindness, mindfulness, integrity and leadership which can only be taught by example. By our own example, we must teach children to be good stewards of the world they will inherit.”
First Lady Melania Trump gave a heartfelt speech about bullying at the United Nations General Assembly

Image: Kellyanne Conway takes a photo in the Oval Office

“It is venomous,” Conway said. “It bothers my children, to be frank with you. I have 24/7 Secret Service protection because there are people out there who do wish us harm, and people should take that very seriously. I’m not a victim at all, but people should take very seriously the import of their words. Especially when they know I meant no disrespect.”
Senior advisor to President Trump, Kellyanne Conway referring to critics who claimed she was disrespecting the Oval Office

“The internet is tearing us apart. The internet is a system where people can put up vitriol and they think they are hiding behind a screen and so they can treat other human beings in really ugly ways that we would never want to treat each other, but for some reason we think we can do that on the internet. Base your opinions and your thought in reason and fact and not in emotion…try to do your best to engage in a civil dialog. All of us can do a better job of this, all of us, from the top down.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan talking to students at New Berlin Eisenhower Middle/High School

“He’s a showboat, he’s grandstander, the FBI has been in turmoil. You know that, I know that. Everybody knows that.”
President Donald Trump on why he fired FBI Director James Comey

“Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”
Former FBI Director James Comey supplied plenty of stunning moments during testimony at a congressional hearing on June 8, 2017. One came when he swatted down a threat. Trump had tweeted that Comey “better hope that there are no ‘tapes'” of a conversation in which Comey says Trump demanded loyalty and told him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Comey’s response: bring on the tapes.

“With respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”
Sallie Hofmeister, spokeswoman for Harvey Weinstein, Oct. 10

“We can’t have the inmates running the prison.”
Robert McNair, owner of the Houston Texans football team, describing players protesting the national anthem, as quoted in ESPN The Magazine, Oct. 27

Elizabeth Warren, responding to Jake Tapper’s question on whether the 2016 Democratic primaries were rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton, in an interview on CNN’s “The Lead,” Nov. 2

“The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots. Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get.”
Hillary Clinton

“It’s very easy for Mrs. Clinton to criticize and to come out, but I think we need to remember, the only person with blood on their hands is that of the shooter.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded to failed former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton after she blamed the National Rifle Associate for the shooting in Las Vegas that killed 59 people

Let’s be honest, the whole taking a knee fiasco during the national anthem has nothing to do with free speech or racism. If it were, crybaby millionaire NFL players would find another venue or some other moment outside of football to protest. If I owned a team, I would tell my players it is their right to protest, but it’s my right to send them packing if they did it while in uniform. This is really about butt-hurt leftists using the NFL as stooges to express their anger over Donald Trump’s presidency and Hillary Clinton’s loss.”
Syndicated columnist Susan Stamper Brown

Dear Mr. Goodell:

You are responsible for the polarization in the NFL. Had you invoked the NFL rule regarding inappropriate apparel, you would have sanctioned Colin Kaepernick for wearing socks depicting the police as pigs. And you could have enforced the rule requiring players to stand during the national anthem. But you did neither, hence the protests.

Accordingly, I am sending you my Giants lawn flag as a token of my disgust for you; as a veteran I am particularly incensed over your delinquency. I no longer support the NFL and hope that professional football takes a nose dive. Then you should be fired.


William Donohue
Letter sent by Catholic League President to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

“We have a rule that requires our players to stand for the anthem. It’s been a rule as long as I’ve been involved with the league, and my expectation is that our players will continue to stand for the anthem.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver

“As much as some people want us to just shut up and play football and keep the politics to politics, sports and politics have always intersected. And If we can help continue a conversation through demonstration of unity I think that’s a good thing.”
Green Bay Packer Aaron Rodgers after the Packers beat the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field

“Today, I am pleased to announce that Foxconn, a world leader in manufacturing for computers, communications, and consumer electronics — one of the truly great companies of the world — will build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for the production of LCD panel products in Wisconsin, investing many, many billions of dollars right here in America and creating thousands of jobs.  And I mean American jobs — that’s what we want.

“Foxconn will invest in southeast Wisconsin while a larger facility is constructed over the coming years.  And that facility is currently under negotiation.  It will be about the biggest there is anywhere.  The company’s initial investment of more than $10 billion will create 3,000 jobs, at a minimum, with the potential for up to 13,000 jobs in the very near future.  The construction of this facility represents the return of LCD electronics and electronics manufacturing to the United States, the country that we love.  That’s where we want our jobs.”
President Trump

“I’ve never seen this type of governor or leader yet in this world.”
Foxconn chairman and founder Terry Gou referring to WI Governor Scott Walker

“One of the clips that touched me the most, someone showed me on my phone on the way over. It was a story from one of the local affiliates who had gone down to a bar and grill in Racine called Pudgy’s. What a name, right? What touched me was, just after 4:00 central time, in that bar, they had the TV on. And usually, unless there’s a Brewers or Packers or Bucks game on at a place like that, people aren’t paying a whole lot of attention to what’s on the TV. But not yesterday. You see, these folks in Racine, many of whom had been unemployed in the past, many of whom had been laid off from previous employment, were looking up, in absolute silence, watching as Terry and I joined the president and vice president and Congressman Ryan up on that stage — and what touched me the most, I gotta tell you what, I’m not afraid to admit, made me cry a little bit this morning. To see them cheer…as we talked about a $10 billion investment in their community, in their region, in their state — that’s what it’s all about.”
Gov. Scott Walker about a story  by FOX6’s Ben Handelman, who spoke with bar patrons at Pudgy’s in Sturtevant — who cheered the Foxconn announcement Wednesday in D.C. as they watched FOX6 at the bar

“I am thrilled and so very proud that an international company of Foxconn’s magnitude has chosen to invest in Racine County.”
Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave after Foxconn announced it would build its manufacturing campus in Mount Pleasant. Racine County and Mount Pleasant plan to contribute $764 million toward the project, on top of the $3 billion in state subsidies for the company.

“I hate it. I don’t even want to think about it. I have my forever home that I have been living in for 40 years, and this is where my wife and I planned on spending the rest of our lives. Now we are just absolutely sick about the whole damn thing.”
Retiree Rudy Baker, whose home is on the northern border of the Foxconn site

“I urge Sheriff Clarke to submit his resignation and allow Milwaukee to turn the page. I am sure Governor Walker will appoint a good successor and I look for to working with whomever that is.”
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele after Clarke  announced he would not be taking an assistant secretary position at the Department of Homeland Security as he planned to

“Abele is pissed I will be Sheriff until January 2019 at a minimum. That’s a long time.  He couldn’t beat me at the ballot box in 2013 after spending $263,000 of his personal wealth trying to do it. I will resign right after that little mouse does.”
Sheriff Clarke

“We were sitting ducks. Without the Capitol Hill police, it would have been a massacre.”
 Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, describing the scene of a rifle attack on members of Congress and their aides  practicing for a charity baseball game as “sort of a killing field”

“Based on the question he asked me, I would make that assumption because he asked me if this team was the Republican or Democrat team privately. I responded that it was the Republican team practicing, and he proceeded to shoot Republicans.”
Speaking to reporters just hours after the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia,  Rep. Jeff Duncan recounted an exchange he had with the gunman before he opened fire — and before the South Carolina Republican realized the man was a threat. Duncan said the shooter stopped him in the parking lot by the field as he was leaving team practice early and asked him if Republicans or Democrats were playing. Duncan told him it was the Republican team, and minutes later, the man opened fire.

“This political rhetoric and political discourse that has led to hate, has led to gunfire. I never thought I’d go to baseball practice for charity, and have to dodge bullets. This has got to stop, and it’s gotta stop today.”
Rep Rodney Davis (R-Ill.)

“Many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two Capitol Police officers who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a very, very brutal assault. Steve (Scalise), I want you to know that you have the prayers not only of the entire city behind you, but of an entire nation and, frankly, the entire world. America is praying for you.

“We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s Capitol is here because, above all, they love our country.

“We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace, and that we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.”
President Trump

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”
President Trump on April 28, on completing 100 days in office as U.S. president

“Why aren’t the first 100 days a measuring stick for Congress and the Democrats? Can anyone name one piece of positive bipartisan legislation that Nancy Pelosi and Schumer have put forth?”
Radio host, author, and constitutional scholar Mark Levin

“It is hard and there is a level of viciousness that I was not expecting. I was not expecting the intensity of this experience. I’m trying to keep my head down, not listen to the noise and just work really hard to make a positive impact in the lives of many people.”
Ivanka Trump during an interview with FOX where she reminded viewers that life was more difficult for people who were laid off or for a mother that lost their child to opioid abuse

For me, this is just amazing. You created a sensation out of nothing. And out of this sensation, you turned it into a weapon of war against the current president. Well, this is, you know, you’re just, you people are so creative over there. Good job. Your lives must be boring.

We didn’t have any relationship at all. There was a time when he used to come to Moscow. But you know, I never met with him. We have a lot of Americans who visit us. Right now, I think we have representatives from a hundred American companies that have come to Russia. Do you think we’re gathering compromising information on all of them right now or something? Are you all, have you all lost your senses over there?”
Russian President Vladimir Putin mocked conspiracy theories linking President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and his own government during an interview marking the inaugural episode of NBC News’ Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. He dismissed any notion that he had a close relationship with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and mocked the idea that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had nefarious dealings through the Russian ambassador.

“I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire.”
Kim Jong-un on Sept. 22, in response to Donald Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea

 Host Rachel Maddow: “Interesting portrait of power in the new — in the new White House. Jared Kushner is the son-in-law of the President….A lot of people felt like the anti-nepotism laws would prevent a hire like that but they believe that they’re on firm ground. Jared Kushner will be a senior adviser to his father-in-law.”…
Chris Matthews: “It’s hard to – Rachel – it’s hard to fire your son-in-law….but Mussolini had a great solution to that. He had him executed. So, it’s –  ”
Maddow: “Jesus, Chris!
Matthews: “So, if I were Jared, I’d be a little careful.”

During MSNBC’s live coverage of Trump’s inauguration, January 20

“Yes, I am angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House. But I know that this won’t change anything.”
Singer Madonna at the Women’s March as aired on C-SPAN, January 21

“There are a variety of ways that Trump could kill us all. The slowest, surest and most likely way he’ll do it is via climate change.”
March 21 tweet by MTV News Senior National correspondent Jamil Smith

“Historians in the near future will mark today, March 28, 2017, as the day the extinction of human life on earth began, thanks 2 Donald Trump.”
March 28 tweet from filmmaker Michael Moore

“What cost her the election is FBI Director Comey, what cost her the election, in my humble opinion is Russia’s hacking and what cost her the election is if you look at the stats, people –  this was – I agree with Van Jones in a sense, this was a ‘white-lash.’ There’ve been studies. Twenty percent of people voted because of racism, and I think after eight years of a black president there was no way that this woman was going to win. There was no way….She was the most qualified candidate for president that we have ever had!”
Co-host Sunny Hostin on ABC’s The View, May 3

“There is too much money in the world.”
Lawrence Luhring, art dealer, reacting to the sale of a painting possibly by Leonardo da Vinci for over $450 million, as quoted in The New York Times, Nov. 16

“And the Academy Award … for Best Picture … La La Land.”
Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, mistakenly reading the wrong winner for Best Picture in an envelope mix-up, Academy Awards ceremony, Feb. 27

“Wait. There’s a mistake. ‘Moonlight,’ you guys won best picture.”
 “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz stepped to the microphone to deliver the news and return his golden statuette

“We have become stupidly politically correct which is the death of comedy. It’s OK not to hurt the feelings of various tribes and groups. However, it’s not good for comedy. Comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks. Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering in the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behavior. I personally would never touch gas chambers or the death of children or Jews at the hands of the Nazis. Everything else is fine.”
Veteran comedian and filmmaker Mel Brooks

“It is true that I’m not living in the White House anymore. I actually am enjoying being in my own house. I have been fighting Michelle to get more closet space. I have been trying to figure out how the coffee maker works.”
Former president Barack Obama, telling a conference in Italy about life after the presidency in the 8,200-square-foot mansion that the Obamas rent in Washington, which presumably has more than one closet

“If it had tasted even a bit like urine, I would put it down, but you don’t even notice.”
Concert-goer Anders Sjögren, after sampling a Danish microbrewery’s new Pilsner product made from recycled human waste water

“I like being different. I made sure my prom date was OK with it.”
Megan Flaherty, a New Jersey teenager who decided to arrive at her high school prom in a wooden coffin


Wisconsin’s Secret Police

The verdict in the Kate Steinle murder trial

Cheers for your first abortion?

Portable toilets near Kenosha memorial

Assassination of NYPD officer

Dehydration death at Milwaukee County Jail

The West Allis-West Milwaukee School District


President Trump’s accomplishments

Are Black Women Leaving The Democratic Party?


Trump is wrong. Trump is evil.

Celebrity views on anything

What Hillary Making Russia Her Scapegoat Reminded Me Of

There couldn’t possibly be just one


How much for that beer?

Those wacky millennials

“I am not some nut ball”…that usually means the person is

Couple born on same day in same Massachusetts hospital now married

 “Free rent for a girlfriend”

This may be the strangest of all-time

Good intention, but was this wise?

Wisconsin man drives to hospital after nail shot into heart

Do not misgender your pet.

Unused Confetti from Hillary ‘Victory’ Party Honored as Feminist Art

Things people do in their cars

The Barking Lot – America’s Finest Dog Blog (12/30/17)


The Barking Lot is a regular weekly feature of This Just In…Written by my lovely wife, Jennifer and me.  It opens with the weekend dog walking forecast followed by the main blog from dog lover, Jennifer. Then it’s DOGS IN THE NEWS and our close. Enjoy!

THE WEEKEND DOG-WALKING FORECAST: We grade the weather outlook for taking your pet outdoors.


Sunny. High of 4.  “F”

SUNDAY:  Partly cloudy.  High of 12. “F”

NEW YEAR’S DAY MONDAY: Sunny.  High of 4.  “F”

Now, here’s my lovely wife, Jennifer with this week’s main blog.

Everyone does a round-up and review of things this time of year; The Barking Lot is no exception.  It’s rewarding to look back over all the blogs we’ve done in 2017 to pick out what I think was my most interesting or most heart-warming.  This year, I couldn’t just pick one.  Indeed I found one that I classify as “most interesting” and another most “heart-warming.”  Perhaps you missed these blogs the first time around or perhaps you’ll enjoy reading them once more.  In either case, here are my top choices for Barking Lot Blog of the Year.

From April:

So many dog stories, so little time.  Really, that’s the case here at The Barking Lot.  There’s never a week when we’re working on it and say to each other, “There’s just not a single good dog item to put in the blog!”  It’s more like “I don’t know how to cut it down!”

Of course this week is no exception.  Once again, dogs’ amazing abilities and qualities are presented in beautiful stories of kindness and caring.  Have you heard of Seeing Eye dogs… for dogs?  Yes, that’s right.  They exist, and they are beautiful.

The Seeing Eye organization was founded in 1929.  While its headquarters were in Nashville, its origins were actually in Europe.   I am frequently impressed by how dogs can enrich the lives of their owners by helping them with endless physical tasks.  Hearing stories of how dogs literally and figuratively open doors for the people they help is truly heartwarming.  But… those dogs are trained.  And they are trained to help humans.

What happens when two dogs who live together, just “siblings” if you will, realize that one of them has lost their sense of sight?  It’s extraordinary, really.  You probably wouldn’t think that a regular, average, untrained dog of no remarkable breed could suddenly function as a guide dog.  But that is exactly what happens.

Cass, Keller, and Zen (and apparently MANY others) have taken on a role that no one asked them to.  They stepped into a position of helping their sibling after vision loss.  They weren’t trained and clearly there was no conversation that went “Cass/Keller/Zen, your dog brother/sister can’t see any more because they have glaucoma.  So we need you to help him/her when they go up and down the stairs and things like that.”  So how, exactly, does this phenomenon happen?

For stories and theories, please keep reading.

Here’s to one more fascinating way dogs bring a special joy to our lives like no other animal can!

And from August:

We know dogs are brilliant.  We know dogs are heroic.  We know dogs are our best friends.  We also, of course, know that dogs are outgoing.  Sure, there are dogs with “issues” that have been rescued from horrible living situations and are not yet fully socialized.  Of course dogs can be TRAINED to be vicious.  Generally speaking, however, dogs are extremely social creatures.  They are remarkably friendly, WAY more than their human counterparts.

Think about it… when you meet a new person do YOU want to be touched by them?  Do YOU want to be immediate friends?  Do YOU want to hang out with them the rest of the day within the first five minutes of being introduced?  Do you respond to a nickname they instantly give you?  Would you accept and eat some random object they hand you?  Probably not.

But a dog is another story.  You can pet them, feed them treats, call them cute names and become another (and instant!) friend of theirs.  And if I’m comparing MYSELF to a dog after meeting a new person, the dog probably stands a better chance of remembering the person the next time it sees them!  (Yeah, I’m that bad with names.)

Why are dogs so tail-wagging friendly?  Leave it to canine scientific research to provide us with the answer!  The bottom line?  It’s in their genes!  The internet has been exploding the last couple of days with articles all about these latest findings.  I find all of it absolutely fascinating.  But then again you know me and my love of all that doggie science!

Two articles that I found to be particularly interesting come from National Geographic and the LA Times.

Will dogs EVER stop surprising us?  Nope.  And that’s just ONE MORE reason why dogs are the best.

Happy New Year to all our dog-loving friends!  We look forward to all that 2018 offers with captivating canines!
Jennifer Fischer

Thanks, Jennifer!

Time now for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.

The news isn’t always good.  Husband of woman killed by dogs on Christmas Eve condemns owner: ‘I hold you responsible.’

No ‘Easy Answer’ To Growing Number Of Stray Dogs In The U.S., Advocate Says.

Therapy dogs, bomb-sniffing canines and other pooches growing in number at airports.

If Dogs Can Smell Cancer, Why Don’t They Screen People?

How to ‘Winterize’ Your Dog.

Here at The Barking Lot we love a happy ending.

11 Christmas miracles: Rescue dog gives birth to puppies on Christmas Eve.

This writer believes dogs can get by just fine on a vegetarian diet.

Christmas column offers advice to leaders about why they should have made last-minute requests to Santa to get a dog.



The Day in Photos – December 28, 2017

A wire fox terrier gets a festive makeover at a grooming salon in St Petersburg, Russia on December 27, 2017. (Photo by Alexander Demianchuk/TASS/Getty Images)


We often posted updates on the escapades of surf dog Ricochet. From October, these were submitted by our friend, Judy Fridono.

Surf Dog Ricochet recently acquired a new Labrador retriever puppy named Cori. The first time Cori encountered a swimming pool, she was 16 weeks old and terrified. It took time, patience and baby steps, but her fear transcended into a life-saving initiative.

She started showing an instinct for water rescue when she was 9 months old. She is very focused and attentive when kids are in the water, and has a natural tendency to jump in when she hears splashing.
Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4. However, the danger of drowning is much higher for children with special needs, specifically those with autism.
Like her predecessor, Ricochet, she has chosen her own life purpose… canine-assisted swimming for kids with special needs.
She works with organizations that teach kids with special needs to swim. Cori is an added benefit to their program and provides assistance like only a dog can!
Cori is able to break down barriers often experienced between swim instructors and students.
Some kids have refused to get in the pool with an instructor, but they willingly get in with Cori.
Because Cori had a fear of water herself, she’s able to motivate kids to get over their fear too… “if Cori did it, so can I”.
Parents who have been taking their kids to swim lessons for years are thrilled to see improvement after just one session with Cori.
Kids become more inclined to try things when they know Cori will keep them safe.
Cori wears a special lifejacket made for water rescue. There are two handles on the back where the child can hold onto while practicing their kicking, etc.
Because Cori’s lifejacket has multiple handles, she can tow more than one child at a time, making it a fun experience for siblings too.
Various buoys are used as Cori tows kids to the steps
Kids are able to reach their full potential through fun, sensory based exercises that are geared to reduce fear and apprehension while improving confidence, social interaction, life-saving skills and more
Cori’s physical presence and interaction in the water also reduces anxiety.
Her innate concern and focused attention for kids in the water gives them a sense of added safety.
To get kids closer to the pool and ease their trepidation, they are encouraged to throw balls or toys for Cori to retrieve.
The kids are also urged to sit on the side of the pool with Cori, dipping their toes in the water to get acclimated.
It’s also easier for Cori to get a child to wear goggles!
And, kids are more willing to wear a life jacket when they know Cori does too.
Canine-assisted swim lessons always include human-canine bonding between Cori and the child to build rapport and trust.
Fear is replaced with excitement as kids come up with ideas for towing!
Before you know it, the child is laughing, having fun, and learning to swim!
Cori also participates in beach events as some kids have more fear in the ocean.
Kids love when Cori tows them to shore
She also does mock water rescues with the kids
A credentialed swim instructor is always leading the activities
Cori’s canine-assisted swimming is part of Ricochet’s Waves of Empowerment program so beach activities also include surfing with Ricochet, mock water rescue, towing, safety awareness, water games, retrieval exercises and more.

We have corroborated with Special Fishies Aquatic Freedom and Education, a non-profit organization in San Clemente, CA.

They focus on safety as well as building a child’s confidence, increasing self-esteem, and creating a lifelong love of the water. Kids learn through play and each class is tailored to the child’s needs and goals.
91 percent of all wandering-related deaths among autistic children are due to accidental drowning. Because of these statistics, Cori also raises awareness of water safety and drowning prevention. Please help her reduce these numbers by sharing this info… and help save a life.
For more info click here.


While wildfires ravaged California’s wine country this fall, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes, Odin, a pet dog, stayed behind to protect his family’s eight rescue goats. The 1-year-old Great Pyrenees, a livestock guardian dog, paced back and forth in front of his charges as his owners rushed to evacuate their 35-acre forest property in Sonoma County on Oct. 8. “I looked at him, and he wasn’t going,” says Odin’s owner, Roland Hendel. “I said to him, ‘O.K., Odie, you got this then. Take care of the goats and we’ll be back to get you.’” Hendel felt “terrible guilt and sadness,” fearing he’d left his beloved puppy to burn in the wildfires that killed at least 44 people and hundreds of animals. When the 49-year-old electrical engineer returned to his property the next day, a surreal sight greeted him amid the burning trees, smoke and ash. “I could make out Odie’s tail wagging,” Hendel recalls. Odin’s fur and whiskers had been singed, but he and all the goats were left mostly unscathed. “He was so happy to see me, and he was very proud of himself,” Hendel says. Odin demonstrated courage and perseverance, according to his owner, but he also taught his human counterparts to value life over material things. “Odin risked his life to save those goats, and that’s a big part of the lesson,” Hendel says. “Life is so precious.” Photo: Roland Tembo Hendel

In August in south Texas after a hurricane hit, a dog in the town of Sinton took matters into his own paws to make sure he would be well fed as residents ride out the tropical storm. The golden retriever mix was spotted lugging a big bag of dog food down the street by Sinton resident Tiele Dockens, who was driving with her family to check on the damage from the storm.She shared the picture on Facebook with the hashtag #refugee, which went viral as an image of resilience during the storm.

A rescue helicopter hovers in the background as a woman and her poodle use an air mattress to float above floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey while waiting to be rescued from Scarsdale Boulevard in Houston on August 27, 2017. Photo: Adrees Latif / Reuters

We close as we always do with this week’s closing video.

TC Wait and her husband Dave are the proud caretakers of a number of huskies. But these dogs aren’t the superstars that make Iditarod headlines. Rather, they are a hodgepodge crew of retirees, rescues and shelter dogs that love to run.



National Geographic photographer Erin Trieb evacuated her mom and dogs from Hurricane Harvey’s devastating flooding in Houston, Texas, on August 27, 2017. Based in Istanbul, Turkey, Erin was home in Texas when Harvey struck. She documented her journey to rescue her mom, retrieve her cameras, and check in on her sister’s family and home.

More from September and Hurricane Harvey.

That’s it for this week.

Thanks for stopping by.

See ya, BARK, next week!

One last look at 2017.

Milwaukee Irish Fest and our daughter Kyla on a visit to  the Celtic Canines after she ran through the Summerfest fountains.

Terrier 1

Our 8-year old daughter Kyla gets to meet an Irish Terrier at Milwaukee Irish Fest.  Her face is a combination of “I’m in LOVE” and “Can we PLEEEEEEZE get one?”

Oh, and why is she wearing a swim suit? She had just emerged from the fountains located inside the main gate on a warm mid-afternoon.

Kyla then met an old, rather relaxed dog and its very shy owner.

Terrier 2

Kyla makes two new friends.  Our doggy pal’s name is forgotten but the experience is not!  She was a senior Irish Terrier and this was going to be her last of 13 consecutive Irish Fests.

Water Spaniel

Goodnight everyone, and have one more fabulous holiday weekend!

Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.

This week we have one more musical Christmas card for you.


That’s over with, right?

Well, Christmas Day is, but the Christmas season is not as my wife can tell you.

So, tonight, selections that may not even mention Christmas, but are still perfect for Christmas and post-Christmas Day.

We’re going to start with my favorite Christmas piece. I’ve loved it since I was a child.

In 1946 Leroy Anderson and his wife were in Woodbury, Connecticut, spending the summer in a cottage. There was a heat wave and drought. Despite the surrounding atmosphere he started composing a Christmas classic.

Anderson completed “Sleigh Ride” in Brooklyn on February 10, 1948. “Sleigh Ride” received its premiere on May 4, 1948 with Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra at Symphony Hall in Boston.

The word “Christmas” is never mentioned in the lyrics. Yet nearly 70 years after it was written, “Sleigh Ride” is one of the 10 most popular pieces of Christmas music worldwide, year after year.

From a 2001 CD sold exclusively in Hallmark stores when it was released, The London Symphony Orchestra and The London Voices.

Of course in order to ride in a wonderland of snow you have to have some snow.

Shouldn’t be a problem this winter.

If this next album/CD isn’t in your collection it needs to be.

The Christmas Album by the Manhattan Transfer in 1992 was arranged by Johnny Mandel, and became one of the five best selling Christmas albums on Columbia – the label with the largest Christmas catalogue. It’s also an annual shopping mall favorite to this day.

Why? Because it’s just perfect.

The singers did their rendition of swing band leader Claude Thornhill’s theme song, “Snowfall” from 1941.

Listen to an amazing arrangement that adds even more beauty to a light, lovely, dropping of snow.

The following is incredible.

Peter Tchaikovsky’s ballet, “The Nutcracker” debuted on Dec. 18, 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

That’s 125 years ago this month.

Tchaikovsky, the famous Russian composer, was commissioned by mastermind choreographer Marius Petipa to compose the ballet, score based on Alexandre Dumas’s adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s tale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”

The first production of The Nutcracker in Russia bombed. Critics didn’t like it.  Audiences weren’t thrilled, either.

Then the ballet moved to the United States for performances in 1944. By 1954, sudden popularity.

You know the wonderful story.

During a holiday party a young girl named Clara is presented with a beautiful toy nutcracker from her strange uncle. Clara is delighted with the unusual present until her brother becomes jealous and breaks it. Her uncle magically repairs the toy to Clara’s delight. After the party, she falls asleep clutching it. Her dream then begins. She awakens suddenly, stunned by the events she sees happening in her living room.

The Christmas tree has grown to an enormous size and life-size mice are scampering around the room. Fritz’s toy soldiers have come to life and are marching toward Clara’s nutcracker, which has also grown to life-size. A battle is soon underway between the mice and the soldiers, led by the giant Mouse King. The nutcracker and the Mouse King enter an intense battle. When Clara sees that her nutcracker is about to be defeated, she throws her shoe at him, stunning him long enough for the nutcracker to stab him with his sword. After the Mouse King falls, the nutcracker lifts the crown from his head and places it on Clara.

She is magically transformed into a beautiful princess, and the nutcracker turns into a handsome prince before her eyes. The prince bows before Clara, taking her hand in his. He leads her to the Land of Snow. The two dance together, surrounded by a flurry of snowflakes. He transports her to the Land of Sweets where they are entertained.  They witness several dance performances including the Spanish Dance, the Arabian Dance, the Chinese Dance, and the Waltz of the Flowers. Clara and her Nutcracker Prince then dance together, in honor of their new friends. Clara awakens under the Christmas tree, still holding her beloved nutcracker.

It’s a marvelous spectacle about the magic of Christmas.

Again, if this isn’t in your collection it must be. From the Milwaukee-based Narada label, wonderful instrumentation, released in 1990.

Beginning with the Spanish Dance here are lush portions of the Nutcracker.

First lady Melania Trump watches as ballerinas perform a piece from “The Nutcracker,” as the White House Christmas decorations were unveiled on Nov. 27, 2017. Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP

Claire Robertson from Scottish Ballet poses dressed as the Good Snow Flake inside a lifesize snow globe during a promotion for their production of The Nutcracker on November 20, 2012 in Glasgow. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

There are but only two famous songs about New Year’s.

One is obvious.

In 1788 Robert Burns sent the poem ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to the Scots Musical Museum, claiming that it was an ancient song but that he’d been the first to record it on paper. The phrase ‘auld lang syne’ roughly translates as ‘for old times’ sake’, and the song is all about preserving old friendships and looking back over the events of the year.

It has long been a much-loved Scottish tradition to sing the song just before midnight. Everyone stands in a circle holding hands, then at the beginning of the final verse (‘And there’s a hand my trusty friend’) they cross their arms across their bodies so that their left hand is holding the hand of the person on their right, and their right hand holds that of the person on their left. When the song ends, everyone rushes to the middle, still holding hands, and probably giggling.

The other New Year’s song has been recorded by numerous artists and I can attest to the nervousness implied.

What will she say?

This is one of the best versions in my view, by vocalist Bobby Caldwell and saxophonist Boney James.

That’s it for this week, and the year.


Sleep well.

Have a great weekend.

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

On January 7, 2018, the Epiphany will be celebrated.

The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East. The magi’s coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations.

We close with contemporary jazz pianist Bob Baldwin and vocalist Corvina Nielsen.

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: She was a Cherokee and he was Italian; and Sally Rogers

We have two oldies this week. The first is from my parents’ old record collection.

Torch singer Keely Smith died on December 16 of apparent heart failure. She was 89.

Smith gained stardom in the 1950’s when she teamed up with Louis Prima. The two started performing together in 1948, but really got serious attention a few years later while appearing at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas. Their popular act had Smith playing the straight woman, deadpanning and rolling her eyes at Prima’s frenetic  singing, dancing and gestures.

“The less she did, the funnier it was,” music critic Will Friedwald wrote in the New York Sun in 2005. “Their act was a brilliant juxtaposition of maximalism and a minimalism: Prima would be practically climbing the walls and swinging from the light fixtures. She just stood there with a stone-faced expression.”

Smith and Prima married in 1953 and divorced in 1961. But Smith kept singing, backing up no one.

“When Louis and I broke up, he told me that I’d be nothing without him. And I believed him,” said Smith.  “I realized I’m having fun doing what I’m doing now. It’s my stage. There’s no Louis up there.”

In 1958 Smith and Prima won the first Grammy Award for best performance by a vocal group for their 1958 version of “That Old Black Magic.” And man, could she sing. And check out that hairdo.

The entertainment world was saddened Thursday to learn of the death of Rose Marie who was 94.

From the NY Times:

Originally known as Baby Rose Marie, she is probably best remembered for her “Dick Van Dyke Show” role as Sally Rogers, one of three comedy writers — the others were Rob Petrie (Mr. Van Dyke) and Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam) — who worked for the fictional series-within-a-series, “The Alan Brady Show.”

Sally was witty, wisecracking and independent-minded, but she was also perpetually on the hunt for a husband; though tough as nails, she was not immune to romantic misadventures. Her main significance, though, was that she worked as a comedy writer, a rarity for women at the time.

In 1946 Rose Marie married Bobby Guy, a trumpeter with Kay Kyser’s big band who went on to work with the NBC orchestra. He died in 1964, and she never remarried.