1. My-Sugar-Na and I stopped by Tommasino Italia' for dinner last night. The restaurant on 74th & Greenfield (formerly the beloved Doyle's Milwaukee Inn) is owned by Thomas Doyle. During dinner (fantastic pizza, by the way, with fresh giardinara and parmesan on the side), I spoke with Mr. Doyle. He stated two very interesting and believable things.
First, he is amazed that more of his business wasn't from West Allis residents. Both the Milwaukee Inn and Tommasino Italia' were/are by no means George Webb-priced, but they aren't Eddie Martinis-priced, either. My large, three topping pizza was about $16, and the restaurant featured checkered tablecloths, linen napkins and good silverware. Some of the entrees were in the $15ish range, but that certainly compares favorably with other sit-down restaurants. He said that business has improved since he changed the offerings to Italian, but there is certainly room for more.
The second thing he said was disappointing. He said that the chain restaurants opening near Mayfair and Brookfield Square are killing the independant restauranteur. The Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano's Little Italy and Bravo Cucina Italiana - though their employees are locals - take all the profits to their corporate ladder. Sure, many of their offerings are good, but as Mr. Doyle said, if you ask for a Hollandaise sauce, Maggiano's will open a plastic bag that they received from their supplier. Mr. Doyle would make his own for you. All this, and a 60 minute wait for a table at Maggiano's, too.
I have always, always preferred independant restaurants over chains (that's part of why the Devil Reincarnate has been replaced by My-Sugar-Na). When I go out of town, I try shun chains (Do I really want to go to Applebee's in Durham, NC?). I think West Allis residents - in order to keep local businesses healthy - owe it to themselves to make a point to go to independant restaurants... whether it is Tommasino Italia', Painted Parrot, or The Little Cafe.
2. That nutjob, Mike McGee, Jr., made it on the local “bleeding heart or scare people needlessly entertainment program” (aka the news) from jail the other night. Why, exactly did channel 4 do this? McGee didn't say anything other than the garbage he usually does ("I'm a political prisoner", "I will be acquitted", etc). McGee terrorized his district - and as far as he is concerned - "white" Milwaukee for years to the point where is ego is larger than Terrell Owens. So channel 4 seeks him out to let him prattle on some more? He has been held in jail since Memorial Day (that is seven months now) with no end in site, as he awaits both State and Federal trials. He's done. Toast (burned toast at that). Let's leave him be. We will all be better for it.
3. Professional Bowlers Association exempt player Chad Kloss, from Greenfield, is back in town after completing the first half of the PBA schedule. Because of an elbow injury, I am done bowling for the season and Chad bowled as my sub yesterday. Not only did he shoot 792 for three games (and nobody else on our lanes had more than 650), he also made a bet with teammate one of my good friends - I'll call him Brad. I don't remember the exact details, something about if Chad makes the Round of 8 in any event in the second half, Brad will shave his head, and if Chad qualifies for TV, he will shave his head. I could be wrong on the specifics, but it is definatley worth keeping tabs on from early-January till the end of March.
4. The Federal 2008 omnibus spending bill has been released, and Republicans are calling on George Bush to keep his committment from the 2007 State of the Union address to reduce both the number of Pork Barrel projects and overall pork spending. I took a look at some of the pork projects (thanks to some prodding from My-Sugar-Na), and I can't believe one particular item that I saw. Las Vegas is planning to open a Mob History museum in a shuttered post office in downtown. Well, $200K in federal pork is earmarked for "a post office museum in downtown Las Vegas". Now, that doesn't mean that they are connected, but they appear to be. In a city in which billionaires are spending as much as $5,000,000,000 (that's five billion bucks, folks) to build a resort to outclass the guy next door (whose resort is only $4.8 billion), why in the world is my federal tax money going to finance yet another Las Vegas attraction? A Las Vegas Mob History museum would really satisfy two of my loves, but my discretionary money should pay for it, not my tax money.
5. To keep the karmic alignment proper, since I praised one West Allis business, I need to talk down one of them. My-Sugar-Na is starting a new job in late-January (let's keep this to ourself, as her current employer doesn't know yet). Panicking, she is now trying to find occasional doggie day care for Vier Pogo Squad 51. I've learned not to argue this with her, and the pastures at the new place are, um, greener, so today she visited one potential place. Playtime Doggy Daycare on Hwy 100 near I-94 told my wife that pomeranians aren't good at day care, but "we'll give it a shot". My-Sugar-Na is horrified that her dog has been profiled by The Man (maybe she should talk to Mike McGee, Jr?). Playtime also wouldn't show her the crating area, where they park the dogs during rest time. Needless to say, Playtime Doggy Daycare is off of her list and she will continue looking.
6. Work has been quite slow the past couple weeks for a variety of reasons, allowing me plenty of time for mindless internet searching. I have seen a couple other blogger's lists of horrible Christmas songs, so I decided to make my own short list.
A. My Favorite Things, What a Wonderful World, Let There be Peace on Earth, and Same Old Lang Syne. These are not Christmas songs... they aren't even winter songs (like Jingle Bells and Sleigh Ride). These songs don't belong during the Christmas season, and I believe that they only exist because they have too many hours to fill when radio stations go to "all-Christmas" formats.
B. Any "new" Christmas song, because they attempt to be commerially saleable. If a writer wants to pen a new Christmas song, how about something fun, like Rudolph's new girlfriend, or a strike at Santa's workshop, or something else fun. But listening to some pop star warbling about how she misses her boyfriend at Christmas time... nah.
C. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer is about 20 years past its expiration date. Kind of a dark song for Christmas, no?
D. Any song where the singer (usually female [sorry, but true]) whose entire goal is to cover as many octaves as possible to show off (a la Joy Bach) and thereby ruining the song.
E. Some song (don't know the name) about "Mary did you know / that your baby boy" somthing or other. Pure schmaltz... Jerry Taff-esqe schmaltz (As Lisa Simpson said "They want cheap sentiment? I'll pump 'em so full of sap they'll be blowing their nose with a pancake".) That song is extra bad when sung by Mr. Schmaltz, Kenny Rogers. I need to take a shower.
F. Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt or Madonna (or anyone else). Christmas songs should be religious or Santa-ish. Songs sung from the standpoint of a horny golddigger just don't cut it. Eartha Kitt was fine purring as Catwoman on Batman, not so fine purring for this song.
You know, maybe this post was long enough to justify multiple entries. But the damage is done. If I don't post again this weekend, have a blessed Christmas. Don't do something stupid like celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by drinking yourself into oblivion and shooting your neighbor because he bought his wife a new SUV for Christmas and your car broke down.