The Barking Lot – America’s Finest Dog Blog (03/23/18)

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.

TODAYMostly sunny. High of 51.   “B”

Overcast with rain showers at times. High of 46.  “D

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

It’s quiz time here at the dog blog. Let’s play.

What is Wisconsin’s official state animal?

If you guessed…

Average Size Mosquito In Wisconsin

Though it’s hard to disagree, you’d be wrong.

This was rather easy. Shame on you if you messed up.

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Badger Culling and Perturbation


State fish?

It could only be…

The muskellenge, better known as the muskie.

Most  people get that. And the state tree. State flower. State bird.

But what about the official Wisconsin dog?

The breed was developed in the Badger State and is firmly entrenched in the Blue Book as the state dog.

What is it?

To borrow a page from my hubby’s blog we’ll give you 30 seconds.

Think about it while the music is playing.

Go ahead. Click!



Wisconsin’s official state dog is…


The American water spaniel.

You didn’t know?

Not many people do.

Here’s important info.  The American water spaniel is one of only five dog breeds developed in the U.S. and the only one that originated in Wisconsin.

It was used beginning in the mid-1800s as a retriever for market hunters, primarily for .

Waterfowl hunters love this breed for its double-coat and hardiness in cold weather.

So why don’t more people know about the importance of this breed and why it has such a special designation here? Because it’s so rare. There are but 3,000 of these dogs…in the world.

The Blue Book accepted this dog in its list of state symbols in 1986.

A state marker in New London commemorates the breed’s standing. From the Blue Book:

 “The American water spaniel was developed as a practical, versatile hunting dog that combined certain physical attributes with intelligence and a good disposition. No flashy show animal, the American water spaniel is described as an unadorned, utilitarian dog that earns its keep as an outstanding hunter, watchdog, and family pet.”

More than half of the 3,000 American water spaniels are found in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan, but it’s very difficult to come across one in the Badger State. That’s despite the fact it handle the cold.

And who says blogs aren’t educational!

For more check out the American Water Spaniel Club.
—Jennifer Fischer

Thanks, Jennifer.

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

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Bill would punish people who abandon dogs during hurricanes.

How far will apartments go to get owners to scoop the poop?

Barking Lot update: Attention, Dogs: Bark at Your Owners’ Peril.

ICYMI last week: Dog walking is leading to more broken bones in older adults.

Snow melt reveals dog ‘surprises’ scattered across Riverwest area of Milwaukee.

OPINION: Professor says dogs are better than grandchilden.

Vegan dogs and cats? Study finds some pet owners are feeding their animals plant-based diets.

What Would a Dog Do on Mars?

And the winner is…

And another winner is…

Doggie bartenders?



A serviceman of the Belarusian Interior Ministry’s special forces performs as he marks Internal Forces Day in Minsk, Belarus, on March 17, 2019. Photo: Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters

56 photos, yes, 56 from Texas! It’s bluebonnet season.

And here’s one we missed recently.

King, a wire fox terrier, leans toward a microphone during a media availability at Sardi’s in New York on February 13, 2019. King won Best in Show at the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show the day before. Photo: Mark Lennihan / AP

We close as we always do with our closing video. Once again this week…more than one.

In this inspiring true story, our best friends are also real-life superheroes. Journey around the globe to meet remarkable dogs who save lives and discover the powerful bond they share with their human partners.

First,  “Reef is a four-year old Newfoundland, who adores the lakes and sea around her home near Milan, Italy. Her partner is Commandante Ferruccio Pilenga, founder of the Scuela Italiana di Cani Salvataggio (Italian School of Water Rescue Dogs), and a huge advocate for the Newfoundland as a working water dog. Today, Reef is an instructor dog, helping other dogs develop their innate rescue instinct to save human lives. She can deploy from a boat or helicopter, swim for miles without tiring and tow up to 40 times her own weight in the water!”

Reef is featured in the new MAX film “Superhero Dogs.” Her school is the subject of this video.

Now we move to a company called Tombot that has devised a way to improve the quality of life for seniors facing challenges when it comes to being social: a robotic companion dog that behaves and responds like a real dog, but without all the responsibilities of maintaining a living, breathing animal. The company utilized folks at the Jim Henson Creature Shop to produce a robo-dog that looks as lifelike as possible.

Cool, or creepy?

Now here’s a video we shared with you on The Barking Lot on December 9, 2017.

CBS News reported on a growing effort to train dogs not just to be guides, but also to be athletes. Watch.

OK. That was near the end of 2017. Now for the update:

Blind Runner And His Trio Of Guide Dogs Make History In NYC Half Marathon.

That’s it for this week.

Thanks for stopping by.

Please consider passing this along to other dog lovers you know.

See ya, BARK, next Saturday morning!

Goodnight everyone, and have an unforgettable 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.

One of the greatest singers of all-time would have been 100 years old earlier this week.

Nat King Cole was taught to play the piano by his mother when he was 4. At 15 he dropped out of high school to lead his own bands. A ballad singer and jazz musician, Cole sold more than 50 million records.

“Nat King Cole’s voice is really one of the great gifts of nature,” said Daniel Mark Epstein, author of the 1999 biography Nat King Cole. “Remember, he was never trained as a singer. And so, his voice is absolutely pure. He’s a baritone with absolutely perfect pitch. He sings the notes true and he hits them right in the center.”

This week, remembering Nat King Cole. Let’s get started.

It’s the late 1930’s. Cole is 18, married, living in Los Angeles, and leading his own jazz trio.  The group became so popular that in 1946 it got its own national radio show. No African-American had ever hosted such a program before.  The hits kept coming.

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By the 1950’s Cole played less jazz and started singing more. In 1963 he was featured in a TV special on the BBC.

Even though he downplayed his singing ability, once he stood up from the piano Cole manufactured love songs that the public adored.

“You see, it’s not a case of my personal likes,” Cole said. “I try to please as many people as I possibly can and if I find the people like certain things, I try to give them what they like. And that’s good business too, you see.”

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Next, a rather unusual connection.

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Charlie Chaplin was the king of silent movie comedies.

In the 1936 film “Modern Times” Chaplin plays a factory worker who suddenly has a nervous breakdown and goes mad. During a journey that takes him from the hospital to prison to unemployment, Chaplin comes across a beautiful orphaned girl and helps her  escape from the police.

The final scene shows Chaplin and the girl setting off down a road to a new life. He pauses and points to the corners of his mouth, indicating that she should smile.

Chaplin wrote the music for the song “Smile” that was used in the movie soundtrack. Lyrics were based on that final scene.

Nat King Cole recorded the first version of “Smile” with the lyrics. His daughter, Natalie Cole recorded many of her father’s song and performed them in concert, helping immensely to keep his memory alive.

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Father and daughter were part of a super successful 1991 album “Unforgettable…with Love” that ultimately sold 14 million copies. On the title track Natalie Cole employed a number of over-dubbings allowing her to sing a virtual duet with her dad. Recording engineer Al Schmitt was the mastermind behind the classic collaboration.

“Natalie’s very easy to record,” said Schmitt. “At one point, instead of being in a vocal booth, she came out and stood right there with the orchestra, à la Frank Sinatra. She was amazing.”

The album  won a Grammy Award for Best Engineering.

“Nothing had been attempted like that,” said Natalie Cole. “To lift Dad’s voice, literally, off of that track and put it on a brand new one, and then line it up, match it up, get the phrasing right. I remember listening – everyone listening at the end, and we were just enthralled. It was really wonderful.”

For Cole’s 1996 album “Stardust” the engineering trick was repeated on this standard from the early 1950’s.

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That’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a great weekend.

Nat King Cole developed a very nasty habit when he was 14.

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He was a heavy smoker from then on and had a lung removed in early 1965. But doctors said the lung cancer had spread beyond control.

Born on March 17, 1919, Cole died on February 15, 1965. He was only 45. Just before he died his last studio album, “L-O-V-E” was released.

I just can’t resist. Here’s Kyla when she had just turned 7 performing with her school ballet group. Kyla’s classmates voted her “best hip action.” She starts out on your far right.

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Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: Humorous history

The job is to make sure a forgotten oldie is never forgotten. That may sound strange, but it’s not.

The Library of Congress this week announced the National Recording Registry class of 2018. It is an annual list of 25 recordings that the library deems worthy of preservation.

“The National Recording Registry honors the music that enriches our souls, the voices that tell our stories and the sounds that mirror our lives” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “The influence of recorded sound over its nearly 160-year history has been profound and technology has increased its reach and significance exponentially. The Library of Congress and its many collaborators are working to preserve these sounds and moments in time, which reflect our past, present and future.”

Stan Freberg was a comic genius who built a successful radio career out of using satire in commercials. His 1961 album “Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America,” a history lesson in songs and sketches, made the Library of Congress’ list. Time magazine said it may have been the “finest comedy album ever recorded.”

This album track might be considered politically incorrect these days which makes it so entertaining. On “Pilgrim’s Progress” Freberg lends his voice to the character of Mayor Pennypacker who starts a goodwill campaign and invites everyone to “Take an Indian to Lunch.”

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Freberg actually flunked history in high school.

Here’s the entire 2018 National Recording Registry:

  1. Yiddish Cylinders from the Standard Phonograph Company of New York and the Thomas Lambert Company (c. 1901-1905)
  2. “Memphis Blues” (single), Victor Military Band (1914)
  3. Melville Jacobs Collection of Native Americans of the American Northwest (1929-1939)
  4. “Minnie the Moocher” (single), Cab Calloway (1931)
  5. “Bach Six Cello Suites” (album), Pablo Casals (c. 1939)
  6. “They Look Like Men of War” (single), Deep River Boys (1941)
  7. “Gunsmoke” — Episode: “The Cabin” (Dec. 27, 1952)
  8. Ruth Draper: Complete recorded monologues, Ruth Draper (1954-1956)
  9. “La Bamba” (single), Ritchie Valens (1958)
  10. “Long Black Veil” (single), Lefty Frizzell (1959)
  11. “Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Vol. 1: The Early Years” (album), Stan Freberg (1961)
  12. “GO” (album), Dexter Gordon (1962)
  13. “War Requiem” (album), Benjamin Britten (1963)
  14. “Mississippi Goddam” (single), Nina Simone (1964)
  15. “Soul Man” (single), Sam & Dave (1967)
  16. “Hair” (original Broadway cast recording) (1968)
  17. Speech on the Death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy (April 4, 1968)
  18. “Sweet Caroline” (single), Neil Diamond (1969)
  19. “Superfly” (album), Curtis Mayfield (1972)
  20. “Ola Belle Reed” (album), Ola Belle Reed (1973)
  21. “September” (single), Earth, Wind & Fire (1978)
  22. “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” (single), Sylvester (1978)
  23. “She’s So Unusual” (album), Cyndi Lauper (1983)
  24. “Schoolhouse Rock!: The Box Set” (1996)
  25. “The Blueprint” (album), Jay-Z (2001)



Today’s highly interesting read (03/22/19): How Trump is on track for a 2020 landslide

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Today’s read is from the left-leaning POLITICO:

President Donald Trump has a low approval rating. He is engaging in bitter Twitter wars and facing metastasizing investigations.

But if the election were held today, he’d likely ride to a second term in a huge landslide, according to multiple economic models with strong track records of picking presidential winners and losses.

Credit a strong U.S. economy featuring low unemployment, rising wages and low gas prices — along with the historic advantage held by incumbent presidents… he also could wind up in trouble if the economy slows markedly between now and next fall, and other legal bombshells could explode the current scenario.

Read the entire article here.



Today’s highly interesting read (03/21/19): R rating for this movie is laughable

Next Friday this movie opens in theaters.

Today’s read is from Lauren Green who currently serves as Fox News Channel’s (FNC) chief religion correspondent. She writes:

It seems pretty odd that a movie with no foul language, no gratuitous sex, no violence, no naked bodies, no wild shootings or car chases racking up dead bodies and mangled vehicles would get a rating equal to movies like “Kill Bill,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Die Hard.”

Having just seen the movie in a private screening, I would say its R rating is downright laughable, which makes one think that it is simply an overtly political reaction. What this movie does show is the reality of abortion, and the political power and money Planned Parenthood wields as the No. 1  abortion provider in the country.

Read the entire column here.

THE latest most ridiculous argument against Franklin’s Ballpark Commons

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I don’t attend Franklin Common Council meetings. Normally I have other commitments. But even if I didn’t, spending valuable  time with my family is far more important than watching my ineffective city pols in action.

I DO listen to the tapes of the meetings and monitor the city of Franklin website for meeting updates, agendas, minutes, etc.

So I know what happens at these meetings. Honest to God if you were to attend one of them (there are two each month) you’d swear the entire populace of Franklin was vehemently opposed to Ballpark Commons. Speaker after speaker after speaker during the meeting’s comment period at the beginning of each meeting attacks the project and anyone who supports it.

Same crowd. Same folks. And normally the same arguments.

Now I can understand when a massive development enters an area there will be the usual outrages regarding noise, lights, additional traffic, etc.

But what happened at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting is beyond bizarre and the Twilight Zone. A resident insisted a correspondence from the Milwaukee River Advocates in opposition to Ballpark Commons be officially recorded (it has).

The note from the Milwaukee River Advocates to Franklin Common Council members was dated 06/19/18.

Readers, be prepared. You’re not going to believe this. We’re supposed to be in an uproar over the most exciting economic development project in the history of Franklin because of this notice from David Press, President of the Milwaukee River Advocates that reads in part:

We’re losing more wildlife habitat in cities and suburbs and thus, we’re losing wildlife.

Less sexy but more critical is the devastating loss of insects we’re seeing (up to 82% loss, according to one stud), including bees, butterflies, moths and others, which will create a topple-up effect on the birds, amphibians, and others who eat them, and in turn, the larger animals that eat them, and so on.

Our concern with the Ballpark Commons is that it will have these negative effects. To have such a large, populated, noisy, bright activity happening in areas that is adjacent to wildlife habitat is extremely detrimental.


Click G.1. and scroll down to Page 12 for the entire note from the Milwaukee River Advocates.


Insects will die.

Incidentally the Milwaukee River is nowhere near the Ballpark Commons site. Yet this is what opponents will stoop to. They will say and do anything to smear this project.

Scoff if you will but this is what’s going on at City Hall, even while tens of hundreds support Ballpark Commons. Problem is those tens of hundreds are at home while the moonbats fill the room at City Hall.

If you care about the Ballpark Commons, organize. Assemble. Show up at City Hall for these meetings. Blow the others out of the water with your support. Speak out.

Guaranteed, they will scatter with tails between their legs.

If it means that much to you, don’t let the other side win in the debate of public opinion. You may think this is a done deal but a lot more needs to be done.  Someone take the bull by the horns and organize  showing up in full force to make a powerful statement against these weak NIMBYs.

How Abandoned Big-Box Stores Can Bring Communities Together

I’ve blogged extensively about the ongoing debate about the so-called “Dark Store Loophole.” There will be attempts to kill this so-called loophole in the current legislative session in Madison. I’ve made it clear in my blogs I oppose such legislation.

That’s more than I can say for the proponents of the legislation (my mayor for one of dozens). At least I’ve been fair on this blog and have presented both sides unlike those (my mayor and dozens of others) who push for killing the so-called (I say so-called because I question the loophole nomenclature) loophole who have engaged in blatant one-sided propaganda.

At the risk of complicating this issue I go on by stating several groups representing cities, towns and counties have launched, AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE, a campaign to push lawmakers to close the state’s so-called “dark store loophole.”

The Wisconsin League of Municipalities, Wisconsin Counties Association and Wisconsin Towns Association have done so because they contend big box stores are employing strategies to avoid paying higher taxes under current law.

Large retailers argue their property tax assessments should include the values of similar vacant or “dark” stores. But local government advocates say that reasoning doesn’t make sense.

“That would be like me assessing your house as if it were foreclosed, abandoned and boarded up. These are active, growing, thriving businesses on busy street corners in downtown Wisconsin,” said Jerry Deschane, executive director with the Wisconsin League of Municipalities. “They’re being valued at what they’re actually worth, not what theoretically they would be worth if they were vacant.”

I’ve more than taken that nonsense to task in my blog. Just search for Dark Store to see it all.


Take it easy.


What follows is not another salvo in the loophole debate.

Everybody’s arguing and bitching and moaning about empty commercial space in this debate.

But what if that derelict commercial space could be turned into an overall community positive rather than a negative?

Granted, that would require thinking beyond one’s nose, along with eliminating the constant parade of posing for holy pictures of local elected officials, including my mayor Steve (Franklin is never ever wrong and don’t you forget it) Olson.

The positive aspect I mentioned has been done. It can and does happen when people work together on productive ideas.

Please read.

Should Franklin (and other municipalities) dump recycling?

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Is recycling popular in Wisconsin? Who knows?

That bastion of outstanding journalism, the Shepherd Express, without crediting sources reported that in Wisconsin, recycling supports 97,000 jobs and contributes to the $5.4 billion-dollar environmental industry, and 94% of households in the state support recycling and recycle regularly.

Then you have that reports:

Recycling rates in major cities throughout Wisconsin reveal one of the more wasteful states in the nation. Based on the most recent available data, only Madison and Waukesha have managed to eclipse the national average of 34.7 percent (see table below).5Due to a lack of reporting in certain jurisdictions, the state’s overall recycling rate is unclear. However, given low rates in major cities, evidence from other states suggests that Wisconsin’s statewide rate is even lower than the national average.

I’m guessing that here in Franklin recycling is immensely popular. Popular in that it doesn’t bring giddy joy and enthusiasm, but that the practice is one that’s embraced, with residents willing to comply for what they perceive to be a greater good.

And yet recycling is increasingly being frowned upon, not by the folks that drag their carts to the end of their driveways, but by the elected officials in charge. Why? The cost.

The NY Times reports more cities have decided to get rid of recycling, again, because of the cost.

Finally, to the major issue at hand.

Is recycling a waste?

Sorry. It is.