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Takin' the Blog for a Walk

Join Waukesha resident Brien Lee and his blog, Sir Fido, as they explore the city and report on the interesting things they find.

Email Brien at

I'm a moron?


As crazy as it sounds, I've often been tempted to jump into Lake Michigan on New Year's Day. A quick in and out and you're done. You want crazy? How about those fools at Packer games who go shirtless when the wind chill is below zero. Besides, I've seen the pictures of the Polar Bears in the media and they all look like they're having a good time. 

If I were to go in, I'd have to have family or friends there to support me (hold the blanket and Thermos) and verify that I did indeed go in. And once again, I couldn't even pay anyone to go with me. As a matter of fact, one member of my family said anyone who jumps in the lake in winter is a moron . . . plus they'd never talk to me again.

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the trip is over. R.I.P. L.S.D.

6) when I'm feeling sad

 .Lee and me

All great men seem to die soon after they stop writing. In August I wrote about Lee Sherman Dreyfus discontinuing his Freeman column, and now he's gone. I don't know if it was T.V. that killed him, but I'm not taking any chances. I plan on blogging forever. 

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It's 52 degrees in Waukesha right now - the snow won't last long. At 10 feet tall my snowman may last until the next cold front. At 81 years old, Wisconsin's 40th governor wasn't going to live forever, but his memory just might.   

.snow manument

a beautiful prayer

2) raindrops on roses, let us pray

.red carnation vest

From the prayer card at visitation:          

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Historic Third Ward Riverwalk

Takin' the Blog for a Walk discovered a new route to work this week. Every few weeks I ride the bus a couple extra blocks east for the next month's supply of Wisconsin Coach tickets from a little shop on Water Street. Instead of taking the sidewalk south past boutiques, salons, cafe's, galleries and restaurants, I decided to follow the boardwalk next to the Milwaukee River to see where it would lead me. I enjoyed it so much that I tried it again the next day -- on the other side.ducks paddleducks paddle

I've been on the Milwaukee Riverwalk a few times. I enjoy the sculpture but never felt as enthused about the walk as I probably should have. It has variety and it's nice and wide with plenty of places to relax over the lunch hour. There's so much to see and, in summer with RiverSplash and other events, there's a lot to do. But it's still cement. It feels like a continuation of the street or sidewalk instead of a continuation of the river.the Solomon Juneaudriftwood furniture on the Solomon Juneau tug

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Congratulations Jay Walt!!!

I nominated Marty Frank for the Freeman's 2007 Citizen of the Year. It was unbelievable to me how many good things for the community he was involved with while still alive. He didn't toot his own horn so I didn't really find out about him until after he was gone. No one told me I couldn't nominate a dead person. And besides, I once voted for a deceased judge in Waukesha County!

Just in case the Freeman wanted to present their award to a living person, I also nominated Carol Lombardi, who I've always loved. She was an involved citizen while mayor and I know is still quite involved today.

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A surreal conversation

She started by saying to anyone who'd listen - and I happened to be the only one around - "there sure is quite a variety here," and "I can't believe what you can get for one dollar." And that's how the conversation started, in the aisle between the toys and party supplies in the Dollar Store. Maybe it was the unnatural color of her hair or the way it didn't seem to fit quite right. It could have been the lipstick smudge on her chin. Whatever it was about the old woman, it kept me from hurrying along my way. 

I guess I must have just needed a laugh. I wanted to see what stories she'd tell, and she clearly liked to talk. I let her tell me all about living in Africa, Ireland and Jerusalem. About helping the British during WWII and meeting the first of four husbands, who happened to be from Milwaukee, there in Great Britain. She told me about secret intelligence and danger and spies. Her family of nine, her parents, grandparents...

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playing with food

Once again the Machine Shed has more to offer than just a good meal. I've always enjoyed the gift shop for it's unique offerings. The farm antiques lining the walls are always fun to look at and wonder what they were used for. The food is good, especially the Sunday brunch, and the portions huge.

I mentioned a craft demonstration there in April and thought it was a good way to add extras to an already interesting meal experience. We don't go to Machine Shed too often and haven't seen the demonstrator since, but we were there yesterday and saw something new.

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Mayor Nelson's blog


The mayor's blog is finally up and running, his first post was yesterday. The comments feature is turned off, but that's OK. The NOW sites started out the same way and we eventually got ours turned on. Give it some time and I'm sure he'll eventually have all kinds of links and pictures, etc.

Body Worlds

I haven't bought tickets yet, but I plan on attending the Body Worlds exhibit that began it's four month run today at the Milwaukee Public Museum. I've known for many months that I was going - I'd heard from others who had seen it when it came to the Museum of Science and Industry

A favorite of mine during my last visit to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry were the body slice displays. It sounds like this new exhibit is educational and not at all gruesome. Besides, we've been viewing human bodies in museums for years just not with the soft tissue still attached. 

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In God We Trust

Do you ever think about who may have once spent, or lost, the money in you pocket or purse? If I see something old I'll sometimes think about which president could have held it. This morning I came across a 1909 cent ... in circulation! I was going through my wife's change cup for coins to fill up a baby bottle used for a fundraiser for the Pregnancy Support Connection, Inc.

My heart beat a little faster because I knew the 1909-S VDB was one of the rarest coins, and I'd never held any 1909 coin before. I could find no markings on it so I did a little research right here on the computer. I found out the VDB was printed real small at the bottom of the reverse side. Mine had none. I also found out it was the first year a coin had a president's image - Lincoln's to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth. It was also the first time IN GOD WE TRUST was added to coins. My coin is probably worth only $2.00 on the market but much more than that to me. When I think of all the famous people who owned it and the miles it traveled...1909 penny

Fair Weather

I'm a fair weather Packer fan and this year the weather's been great! Last week's game was among the best I've seen and I'm looking forward to watching tomorrow's game on a new large screen TV. The temperatures will be below zero but I'm betting that we'll see some shirtless fans within a half hour of kick off.

The weather today was predicted to hit a high of 2 degrees. It was 5 below this morning and is up to 5 above right now. The temperatures were cold enough to cancel today's Alaskan Malamute Club of Wisconsin Dog Pull, if you can believe that. 

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I lost the bet

In my last post I placed a bet with no one in particular that we'd see shirtless fans within the first half hour of Sunday's Packer game. It seems cold weather always brings out fans with too much grease paint and beer on their bellies, and Sunday was cccccold. I lost the bet. We didn't see shirtless fans until an hour and a half into the game.

I have to say I was quite surprised by them. Not what I was expecting. Did they even qualify? No grease paint. Weren't drinking. Not completely topless. Not even guys.

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Satisfying my morbid curiosity

At the risk of sounding stupid writing about something so important and potentially controversial, I've decided to free write this one with the knowledge that it will sound stupid but still be OK.

my vist to body worlds friday by myself first thing in morning 9:00 first group to go trough avoids the crowds $21.00 ticket plus 10% internet ticket fee one week since it opened talked abnout going in blog museum docent told be admission to museum wasn't included in price of body worlds ticket but found out otherwise so I corrected him rented $5.00 audio tour to complement my experience but wouldn't do it again not necessary had two options for audio and chose basic our group was only about twenty or so goijmg in and made the right choice to avoid crowd if I went again I woundn't go at any other time I read about the exhibit and wes exposed to bodies at museum of science and industry so I saw nothing too shocking was surprised buy the amount of male genitalia as men far outnumbered women in exhibit we saw what we are made of good and bad and sometimes looked better than before as all fat is removed without skin there are no wrinkles or blemishes or body hair/ piercings/ though the last "p;lastinate was shown with skin and tatoos one of whick was of member from kiss rock band i went looking for things at the exhibit something that told their age or what they died from maybe have it pionted out what cause of death was from but not much probably to avoid controversy they weren't even called human but pp;lastinates which is ok because they aren't using bodies it wasn't physical bodies that went to heaven it makes it easier to understand if we thing of the exhibit as specimens and there were a lot more organ and bone specimens than full body there were no bike riders or archers but i enjoyed the skaters at they slowly spun an a pedestal even though ethe guy was wearing skaktes the female wasn't and so how can she be a skater there was no ordor or scent coming from the wexhibit as the plastination process uses acetone and temperature to replace water in cells then pressure and silacone to replace acetone leaving just a rubbery vein or whatever we were able to handle real organs and i found the lung very lightweight it was like a human sponge the only sound through mnost of the exhibit was from audio players and quiet talking one mom read display to young kid which interrupted my reading my reccomendation would be to find a sitter or go when they are in school the fetal exhibit was the only time i heard calming music like what might me heard at a funeral the display was sepatated from the rest by a block curtain wall so not everyone would wander in there accidentally it wasn't gruesome but probably not for everyone there were probably 20 fetuses from different stages and a full body platinate at 8 months pregnancy who's womb was disected to see the fetus enough about that there was a horse and rider that took about three years to prepair the other plastinated took about a year i was amazed by what i saw the delicate blood vesels the lab was able to plastinate just the vesels and remove everythins else through chemicals leaving such a delicate structure that it had to be suspended in water and if you look close in the water some of the tinies vesels broke off several of the alarge plastinates were nothing but vesells and bones and was amazed the concentration of vessels in the lips they are solitd vessels there are about four birds two doves a duck and a chicken that are nothing but vessels colored with red dye i guess i learned something one of the plastinates i'd seen pictures of with clamps all over and i didn't know why well the clamps show all the medical procedures they open up the muscle to expose where bones were mended with metal pins, rods, screws now did this one die in an auto accident or shortly after were all these breaks a bone condition we dont know there is a reason to keep these anonamous but at least tell us what it means several thousand people have singed the donor form and several hundred have so far died i suppose its the one change many will have to still be around when there name is finally called for the packer season ticket waiting list at the end of the exhibit just before walking out is four books for us to write in about our experience so i read a little and liked hearing what other people were seeing or feeling and they pointed out things i havent seen so before leaving i went back and took anbother look i didnt get everything i saw but learned enjoyed and got my $23.00 worth and would go again is someone needed a friend to go with after i left i went upstairs to look around the museum a little and one of the first things i saw awas a couple of wooden tubular painted containers which the exhibit told were for bones the dead person was first painted then left outside for a time and later the bones were gathered and carried around by a family mamber and i think i was more repulsed by that than the whole exhibit i just saw the plastinates freely donated their bodies and it's likkle different than donating them to science yea they put a hat on one of the plastinates and another is playing chess that probably never played chess in real life i learned that through smoking 20 cigarettes a year adds about 8 ounces of tar to our lungs a year there lungs are unever to make toom for the heart now i'm getting sloppy at any rate when i left i went to drink more beer than i'd hade in the previous year combined i think i think it numbed my brain from thinking about what i just saw i went on the miller brewerey free tour because i was so close and had time i had just three beers which arent a  olot except it was afternoon and my stomach was empty and i dont drink much i had lite and genuine draft and a dark one i'd never heard of double butt dopple bock by leinenkugels i preferred the genuine draft i learned that chicago drinks 200000 bottles of bear a day i enjoyed the smella of the brewerey really didn't see too many workers i hope you enjoyed this experiment and if i can help it i wont do it again

Good Harvest

Nothing says free sample like the anniversary of a food store. After making my usual unhealthy choices at Pick 'N Save yesterday, I popped in to the third anniversary celebration of Good Harvest Market. I don't shop there but heard they were doing something special Friday and Saturday. Music from wooden flute players greeted me at the entrance as did samples of Guatemalan coffee.

The produce area and deli is the first thing you see inside the door and I sampled fruits, leaves and a jalapeno brat. A guy from Madison that makes whole grain crackers was there with samples as was Dean from "the cheesecake farm." Dean offers classes to Boys and Girls Clubs and Big Brothers / Big Sisters to educate them about whole foods through hands-on experience at the farm. He uses some of the homegrown food the kids helped with to produce the cheesecakes, which are later sold to help fund the program. Very good cheesecake with a good story behind them. (

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