Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Have & Hoard vs. Have Not

The U.S. Census Bureau just released its report “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007” where the data reveals continued inequality and concentration of wealth in the United States. The top 20 percent of households receive over 50% of the nation's income, while the lowest 20% get just a little over 3% of the wealth pie.

The nation’s official poverty rate in 2007 was 12.5%, which means 37.3 million people are in poverty. You read that right – thirty-seven point three million poor.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Functional and Handmade

Finely handcrafted and reasonably priced hardwood kitchen and home accessories are available from Longshadow Woodworks of Duluth, Minn. These exquisite pieces are created from “reclaimed waste woods." The Longshadow Woodworks piece we own hangs on our kitchen wall as the piece of art that it truly is.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Peatbog Faeries: A Celtic fusion band

It’s hard to stand out when you’re a Celtic music band playing at a festival that draws the best from Ireland, Scotland, Nova Scotia and elsewhere, but the Scotish band, Peatbog Faeries, did just that at the Milwaukee Irish Fest, the world’s largest celebration of Irish music and culture. A fusion of Celtic, rock and intelligent electronica, this eight-member band blew everyone away. Bagpipes, electric guitar, sax, trumpet, fiddle, drums, electric bass and synthesizer. They sound like trad-Celtic music meets Moby and Pink Floyd. Or it’s like eating haggis prepared Szechwan style by a crazed, but brilliant Zen-leaning, Latin American habanero-loving chef. You hear it and can’t quite believe that all these disparate sounds can blend together so beautifully… and so powerfully. Their high octane, unpredictable, driving beat got everyone standing with fists punching the sky and heads bobbing atop gyrating bodies. Peatbog Faeries, direct from the Isle of Skye, are splendidly unique.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

State Fair Experience

A scrub-clean young couple -- cultural anthropologists -- writing their dissertations that intend to lift the veil on the innocence of the state fair find themselves in one fine pickle. They ride their Segway Personal Transporters right into the middle of a war between psychic, mutant vegetarians who wish to close the fair down, because of the cruel practices toward animals, and the meat-loving rednecks. The story becomes further complicated as animals are given magical powers to break free from their captors. The story unfolds in a gorgeous-looking, 20-page, b/w comic book smoothly written by “Doc” Spector of Miami and superbly illustrated by Charles Christman of Milwaukee. Volume 1 of an anticipated six volume series, that will culminate into a graphic novel, is available from or email charliechristman (at)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bitchin' Jazz

Velvet. That’s what Terence Blanchard and his band sounds like. I saw him at the 10th Annual Summer Sizzle Jazz Festival in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. The exquisite mocha latte sound enveloped the couple hundred of us sitting in the leafy park -- a several block stretch of converted warehouses as the backdrop. Blanchard made us feel like we were in an intimate club. On this warm breezy night, as my friend said, “We experienced the closest thing to seeing Miles perform ”Bitches’ Brew.”

The Bear Facts

Last week I met a guy who killed a bear. For fun. I asked: So, what did you do with it? Eat it?

The meat doesn’t taste good, so it will be mounted – probably full height with massive 6-inch paws spread in slash pose. It’ll join the four other bears and assorted wild boars and other big game, according to the man’s wife.

I don’t get it. To me, killing for fun… for sport should be outlawed, with one exception: bare hands. If you can run down a goose, gazelle or a cheetah and strangle them with your bare hands, then you've earned the bragging rights. Sure, we’d loose a few who’d be mauled to death by an 8-foot, 1,500-pound grizzly, but the losses may actually help the gene pool.