My Most Popular Blogs (01/29/18)

Here are my most popular blogs from last week, Sunday – Saturday:

1) Franklin’s response to racist school display perfect

2) Best Cartoons of the Week (01/27/18)


4) A business moving INTO Franklin?

5) The Barking Lot – America’s Finest Dog Blog (01/27/18)

6) The latest pro-life news (01/22/18)

7) Photos of the Week (01/21/18)

8) Culinary no-no #550

9) Goodnight everyone, and have a best of the best weekend!

10) Over on my wife’s blog…

And this didn’t make the TOP Ten but is worth a look.

Culinary no-no #551

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

Let’s start this week with some photos.

Photo detail

Nacho bar

You’ve got all kinds of toppings shown there: olives, salsa, sour cream, onions, tomatoes,  jalapenos, avocado.

The hummus bar

Throw in some pita bread, olives, artichokes, red peppers, Feta cheese, guacamole, carrots, cauliflower, and onions.

Spicy Beanless Garden Vegan Chili ~ Veggie Inspired

Chili with carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini


Platter has veggies, fruits, and cheeses.

Crostini with cannellini bean spread and roasted peppers

Baked sweet potato wedges



So what’s the connection?

Katie Workman, author of books on cooking easy recipes, is a regular contributor to the Associated Press.

A recent article of hers appeared in newspapers all across the country where Workman recommended the above items for…

Your Super Bowl party.

That’s right.

A “plant-based” theme.

Workman was inspired by the fact that some NFL players have taken on vegan diets including…

Tom Brady and his wife, model Gisele Bundchen.

Workman writes about all her plant-based recipes that “suddenly the absence of meat doesn’t seem so noticeable after all.”

Um, yes it is.

Friends I’ve talked to said if they showed up at such a party it wouldn’t take long before they kindly and quickly walked out.


One more related item. It’s over on my wife’s blog.


From the Wall Street Journal: When Meijer opened two stores in Wisconsin, the state demanded it charge more for dog food

In California, Where Cancer Warnings Abound, Coffee Is Next in Line

Photos of the Week (01/28/18)

1) In Davos, Switzerland, Donald Trump arrives for the last day of the annual World Economic Forum holding a copy of a newspaper with a photo of him on the front. Photograph: Laurent Gillieron/EPA

2) In Lansing, Michigan, victim Emily Morales is hugged after speaking at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges. Nassar was sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in prison for abusing athletes in his care. Photograph: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

3) In Albay, Philippines, villagers flee as the Mayon volcano eruption continued. More than 26,000 people have been evacuated from the 8km danger zone. Photograph: Francis R Malasig/EPA

4) A car drives in a forest on the bank of the Yenisei River, with the air temperature at about negative 32 degrees Celsius (negative 25.6 degrees Fahrenheit), outside the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, on January 23, 2018. Photo: Ilya Naymushin / Reuters

5) The banks of the Seine River in Paris overflowed after days of almost non-stop rain. Authorities closed several roads and canceled boat cruises as water levels rose nearly 11 feet above the normal level. A ticket booth for sightseeing boats is partly submerged by the Seine in Paris on Jan. 27. Photo: Mal Langsdon / Reuters

6) A baby is baptized during a mass baptism ceremony at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, Georgia, on January 21, 2018. Photo: David Mdzinarishvili / Reuters

7) Roman Catholic devotees raise their icons of the baby Jesus as they are blessed with holy water in celebration of Jesus’s feast day, on January 21, 2018, in Manila, Philippines. Thousands of devotees troop to churches with their “Santo Nino,” or Baby Jesus, some of which are dressed in various costumes as basketball players, firemen, police, and soldiers, for the annual procession and blessing. Photo: Bullit Marquez / AP

8) A crescent moon sets behind the Statue of Liberty in New York City on January 19, 2018. Photo: Gary Hershorn / Getty

9) A bear, injured in a wildfire, rests with its badly burned paws wrapped in fish skin and covered in corn husks during treatment at the University of California, Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Veterinarians successfully used alternative medical treatments such as acupuncture and wrapping wounds in fish skin on two bears and a mountain lion burned in the California wildfires. Photograph: AP

10) Staff at Perth zoo in Australia care for a baby Nepalese red panda born two months ago. Photograph: Alex Asbury/AFP/Getty Images

11) Musher Richard Morgan shares a kiss with his husky after practice for the Aviemore Sled Dog Rally in Feshiebridge, Scotland, on January 22, 2018.  Photo: Russell Cheyne / Reuters

12) Matt Lauer gets pizza in Sag Harbor after it was reported that his wife, Annette Roque, has kicked them out of their Hamptons home. He is staying at another house nearby. Photo: Splash News

13) Katy Perry wears a provocative Minnie Mouse-inspired outfit as the famed Disney character receives her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on her 90th anniversary.  Photo: Getty Images

14) In Krasnoyarsk, Russia, members of the Cryophile winter swimming club rub themselves with snow after swimming in the Yenisei river in Siberia. The air temperature was about -38C. Photograph: Ilya Naymushin/Reuters

15) In Hangzhou, China, visitors to a hot spring make snowmen on the side of the pool after China’s central and eastern regions are hit by heavy snowfall. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

16) We haven’t posted one of these in awhile. Dutch model Anna Cleveland presents a creation from the Spring/Summer 2018 Haute Couture collection by designer Jean Paul Gaultier during the Paris Fashion Week. Photograph: Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA

17) A costume ball, the “Grand Bal Christian Dior” was held during the Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2018 fashion collection presented in Paris. The surrealist-themed event was held in the gardens of the Musée Rodin.  She was seen there. Photo: AP


Week-ends (01/27/18)

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…


Jovanna Calzadillas

James Meiergerd…


Larry Nassar


The flu


“I’ve just signed your death warrant. I wouldn’t send my dogs to you, sir. If [the U.S. Constitution] did, I have to say, I might allow what [Nassar] did to all of these beautiful souls ― these young women in their childhood ― I would allow some or many people to do to him what he did to others.”
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina as she sentenced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar to 175 years in prison at Ingham County Circuit Court in Lansing, Michigan. Over 150 victims explained how Nassar had taken advantage of them sexually, some of whom were Olympians. Before the sentencing hearings, Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, Gabrielle Douglas, Simone Biles, and McKayla Maroney all released statements explaining how Nassar had abused them.

“Fake news, folks. Fake news. A typical New York Times fake story.”
President Donald Trump responding to the New York Times story that he ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller last June but changed his mind when White House counsel Donald McGahn threatened to quit

Despite Americans’ waning confidence in the media, a majority still believe the press plays a “critical,” or at least a “very important,” role in our democracy. They are the unofficial Fourth Estate, after all.

But what happens to our society when the media fail to fulfill their duties, when the “watchdogs” become the ones who need to be watched?

Perhaps the next time the media go to point fingers at Republicans and the Trump administration for undermining our democracy and drawing a wedge between fellow Americans, they should take a look at what they are doing to our nation first.
Erika Haas of

Sometimes I just want to tell the gut-wrenching, honest truth after an unsuccessful open house, like “Can we get rid of talkative grandma for the next open house? I don’t think she’s caught up with the current racially appropriate terminology.” Or “How about not cooking fish five minutes before I get there?” or “No, they didn’t think the shower in the dining room was a bonus feature” or “Can you please remove the satanic poster, black candles and dried goat head from your son’s room?”

[In that case] it was a teenager. The whole room was painted black. I don’t actually know if it was a goat—it could have been a deer. It was something with hair. The rest of the house was like Pottery Barn.

I said to the dad, “Could we take the poster down? It would be better if it was more mainstream.” That was a challenge, because he didn’t want to hurt his son’s feelings.

One house, [the owner has] a stripper pole. Every time I show the house, people think there are structural problems, because why else would you put a pole there? I always explain it as an “exercise pole”—it’s a class, like Zumba.
GiGi Malek, real-estate agent at Terrace Sotheby’s International Realty, Forest Hills, N.Y., telling the Wall Street Journal her pet peeves

And these quotes from Gov. Walker’s State of the State Address


See The NFL above

The fact that some are outraged about Judge Aquilina


This study


Speculation about marital strife in the White House


Candy or marijuana?

If by chance you missed this week’s highly interesting reads…

Take a look:

6TH UPDATE: Today’s highly interesting read (08/08/17): Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Today’s Highly Interesting Read(01/26/18): School Choice Can Help Defeat Poverty

5TH UPDATE: Today’s highly interesting read (08/08/17): Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Today’s highly interesting read (01/24/18): NO PARKING METERS IN OUR PARKS!

Today’s highly interesting read (01/23/18): “Trump Trauma” Is Crippling the News Media

Today’s highly interesting read (01/22/18): Sock it to me!

The Barking Lot – America’s Finest Dog Blog (01/27/18)

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.

TODAY:  Partly cloudy. High of 43. Second consecutive great dog-walking Saturday.  “B”

SUNDAY:  Mostly cloudy. High of 31. That’s below freezing.  But dry. “D”

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

I’ve never been much of a TV watcher.  When I was single, I had control of the remote and it was never the other way around.  There were a few shows I enjoyed but they were mostly food-related or travel-related.  I think I may be the only person in existence who has never – and yes, I mean NEVER – seen an entire, start-to-finish episode of either Seinfeld or Friends.  And somehow I’ve managed to live to tell about it.

Kyla is only allowed to watch PBS, Food Network, MeTV, Disney Jr. or Nick Jr.  She has never watched a single prime time program and we intend to keep it that way until she is in middle school at the very least.  There is NOTHING that her sweet and innocent mind needs to be exposed to with “regular programming.”

Kevin of course watches more TV than I do.  That is because he loves sports (clearly I don’t) and during March Madness I don’t go near the screen for fear of blocking his view of “the play.”  He needs throat lozenges; I need ear plugs.  But other than college sports and reruns of classic 1960’s sitcoms he would much rather read or be online exploring political sites.

This is all to say that when (yes I will always use the word “when” referring to the hope I have of owning a dog) we get a pup it will probably watch more TV than the three of its human housemates combined.

No, I’m serious.  Dogs can and do watch TV.  But… just what are they really watching?  Do they want to pop a bowl of popcorn, grab a blanket and Netflix binge?  Good question.  A recent article from People’s blog in their pets section discussed two main differences in the way our canine companions “watch” TV…

Dogs’ vision rate is faster than humans so their screen watching may have a flickering, strobe light effect.  They also have a different capacity for color, so they may only see shades of yellow and blue.  These two differences were also documented in an article published three years earlier on National Geographic’s site. Clearly, pet owners still remain fascinated by their dog’s reactions to TV.  (Quite frankly given the quality of most programming these days I would actually rather watch my dog watch TV!)

If you have any remaining doubts about dogs’ viewing habits, look no further than a subscription to DOGTV.  Again, with distaste and disdain for 98% of what passes for entertainment these days, I would probably prefer whatever is showing right now on DOGTV than anything offered during prime time.

Who says dogs aren’t smart?
—-Jennifer Fischer

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

Dogs are having a bad flu season, too.

Dog parks in Racine targeted by smash-and-grab thieves.

Dog bites man, man bites dog, man gets arrested.

Rescue dog will spend his senior years in nursing home.

15-year-old who rescued dog hanging from tree may get to adopt him.

Even Your Dog Needs a Vacation From Its Everyday Life.



Goodnight everyone, and have a best of the best 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 Sunday night on CBS…

Every year we’ve dedicated our Friday night music feature to some of the nominees but with some twists.

With most of the attention on the big headline nominees like JAY-Z,  Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson,  Lady Gaga, P!nk, and Ed Sheeran, our blog looks at  some of the other gazillion categories. Not as attention-grabbing, but quality stuff for sure.

Let’s get started.

In December 2016, NBC broadcast a special that featured  some of the best voices in history paying homage to Frank Sinatra’s favorite singer. The network commemorated the 90th birthday of Tony Bennett.

Doug Vaughan, the executive vice president for special programs and late night at NBC, told the NY Times, “Not that every 90-year-old doesn’t deserve marking that milestone, but Tony is such an icon and such a beloved American legend.”

In an interview with the newspaper, Bennett was loving his undying popularity.

“We’re sold out everywhere I’m playing,” Bennett said. “The audiences are going crazy for the show. They know that I’m 90, and I come out and I’m in top shape. After the third or fourth song, they start flippin’ out. I’m getting five or six standing ovations a night. When they start acting like that, I just go home very pleased.”

Artists such as Stevie Wonder, Leslie Odom Jr., Lady Gaga, Billie Joel, Elton John and Bob Dylan paid tribute on the NBC special “Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet to Come.”

Columbia Records released a CD of the special that is now up for a Grammy. Nominated for “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album” is Tony Bennett Celebrates 90,”  (Various Artists), Dae Bennett, Producer.

Nominated in the same category is the man behind this character’s voice.

That’s Seth MacFarlane. His 4th album that got him a Grammy nomination was recorded at the historic Abbey Road Studios with a glorious 48-piece orchestra.

Granted, this is another Great American Songbook album, but this is not just another  Great American Songbook album.

Yes, MacFarlane often gets too disgusting with his Family Guy humor. But his standards have always been reverential. Thank goodness he like many others has chosen to shed light on the real pop classics.

From MacFaralane’s album, you talk about a forgotten oldie. This one debuted on Broadway in 1947.

Then in 1954 it was sung in the movie version.

What’s that?

You’ve never seen “Brigadoon?”

You’ve never even heard of “Brigadoon?”

Find the video. See it. You’ll love it.

Here’s one online review:

Americans Tommy Albright and Jeff Douglas, on a hunting vacation in Scotland, discover a quaint and beautiful village, Brigadoon. Strangely, the village is not on any map, and soon Tommy and Jeff find out why: Brigadoon is an enchanted place. It appears once every hundred years for one day, then disappears back into the mists of time, to wake up to its next day a century hence. When Tommy falls in love with Fiona, a girl of the village, he realizes that she can never be part of his life back in America. Can he be part of hers in Brigadoon?

No, they don’t write them like that anymore.

The song is from the Broadway production, the movie, and Seth MacFarlane’s Grammy-nominated album…

Now we move to the Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals category.

The arranger is Jorge Calandrelli. The vocalists are Clint Holmes Jane Monheit.

The son of an African-American jazz musician and a classically-trained British opera singer, Holmes briefly battled colon cancer. He’s now a spokesman for the American Cancer Society, encouraging people over age 50 to have annual colonoscopies.

Monheit is a Grammy winner. Stephen Holden of the New York Times wrote she is blessed with “a voice of phenomenal beauty.”

This track is from an album that was two and a half years in the making.

Another arranger’s category, Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella.

And one of the nominees is an 82-year old artists who is no stranger to the Grammy Awards.

Trumpeter Herb Alpert this past year released his first Christmas album in five decades, accompanied by a 77-piece symphony and choir.

“It’s amazing,” said Alpert. “You think of an orchestra as made up of old-timers, but it’s not. It’s filled with young energy, whether the musicians are young or old. It wasn’t a bunch of old geezers playing in an orchestra. It’s energizing playing with good musicians.”

The nominated arranger is Chris Walden. The nominated track is an old classic.

I find the first :40 to be especially lovely.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text

That’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a great weekend.

In the entertainment business, a “showstopper” is an act, song, or performer that wins applause so prolonged as to interrupt a performance.

We close with a showstopper.

Many years ago in much younger days, one of my many part time jobs had me ushering at what was then called The Performing Arts Center in downtown Milwaukee.  One of the productions I had the pleasure to see was…

There was an unforgettable scene where Carol Channing walks down a huge staircase to a group of adoring gentlemen and belts out that famous “Wow Wow Wow, Fellas” in her unique style during the title song.

For Best Musical Theater Album, the nominee is “Hello, Dolly!” with Bette Midler, principal soloist; Steven Epstein, producer (Jerry Herman, composer & lyricist) from the New Broadway Cast Recording.