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Hypermiling? What is it?

gas mileage, hybrids, hypermiling, Motorweek, Pat Goss, PBS, The Washington Post

I had never heard of this until Son #3 clued me in to the finer points of hypermiling. This child of mine prides himself on being thrifty and always trying to "beat" the system. His latest is practicing hypermiling in his 14 year old Grand Prix. He's worked his 20 mpg in the city car up to just over 28 mpg. He travels from the north end of Milwaukee down to Cudahy for his job so doing hypermiling fits in to his frugality.

Actually its a matter of changing the way we drive. There are a few online sites that give information. One is and the other is The hybrid site is obviously geared toward hybrids but anyone who's interested in getting more miles to the gallon can work on changing their driving in small ways that will expand the capability of their gas mileage.The government also has a mileage site

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I caught the Brewers action

Blogger's Clip Show, Brewers players, Miller Park, Milwaukee Brewers, Nutjobs, Other blogs, Star-Spangled Banner

First things first - I really, really, REALLY want to throw my comments in about blogging in the 21st Century... about the Buzzy v. Deadspin guy on Costas Now in April... about Ned Yost, Doug Melvin, Jim Powell and others whining about a blogger who said that Nedley was about to get fired... etc.  Clearly, I am on the side of the bloggers, but I wanted to make some bigger picture points.  I just haven't gotten around to it.  I may get there (then again, I may not, what with Cheer Day happening at Casa de James this weekend).  My ten second take is that the internet has made media instantaneous, and that the world had better get used to it.  Some will get paid, I probably won't (Mark, I am still waiting for you to tell me I've been picked up by the Wall Street Journal), but the absolute worst part of internet blogs is the comment section.  Now, I only get about 18 people (up from six a year ago) who read my blog, but if more did, I would have to deal with some horribly stupid comments.  Want an example of the nutjobs I would have to deal with?  Check out the ravings of some depressing soul on this blog entry (you should've seen what I didn't approve!)

But until I get around to blogging about blogging, you will have to settle for what I cobble together below.

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The Music of Elvis has Us, "All Shook Up"

Rehearsals for our summer show, "All Shook Up" are underway and we just wanted to tell you a little bit about the show. Just like "Momma Mia" and the songs of ABBA, "All Shook Up" is a musical built around the songs of Elvis Presley. Although the storyline is based on Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," the plot is a typical Elvis adventure -- Chad, a wild mysterious biker comes into town with a broken bike and is forced to stay while his motorcycle is being repaired -- by Natalie, a young, beautiful mechanic who has dreams of leaving town to find real adventure. This lovely grease monkey find out that while Chad romances women, he only travels with boys, so Natalie decides to disguise herself as a young man in order to hit the road with the biker. Romantic complications arise with classic Elvis tunes as a bonus.
We, the West Allis Players, know that money is tight these days and really value your support. Why not consider staying in the metro Milwaukee area for a great summer vacation and come to see our summer show? We bet you a pair of blue suede shoes you will love this production!
We open July 18 -- just six weeks away!

Mitchell Park Conservatory to undergo renovation



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Blown away by Cheer Day

Injuries, James family, Miller Park, My-Sugar-Na, Nostalga, Television, West Allis

Some time in 2007, (Sponsor's Name Here)'s Official Daughter, Gooey, and (Sponsor's Name Here)'s Official Stepdaughter, Sloppy, concocted Cheer Day.  Conveniently held in conjunction with Sloppy's birthday party, Cheer Day was to be a day when the two girls thrilled us with their repartee of cheers and dances.  However, Gooey had broken her arm in the week leading up to Cheer Day, and on the big day wasn't feeling well.  In other words, the First Annual Cheer Day fizzled.

About two days after the first Cheer Day, the girls started planning the Second Annual Cheer Day... which ended up being today (Saturday 6-7).  Amazingly coincidentally, today was Sloppy's birthday, so a grand gala celebration was in order.  I honestly have to admire the two girls dedication.  Every conversation out of their mouth centered around Cheer Day... even the conversations at Halloween, Christmas, etc.  They planned a menu, a schedule, games and - of course - the cheers.

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Um, I thought that was the definition of a flood

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Priceless writing by our local daily rag (and proud supporter of the sites)...

MONDAY, June 9, 2008, 12:36 p.m.
By Annysa Johnson

Cudahy flood damage reaches $10 million

The City of Cudahy is estimating flood damage this afternoon at $10.1 million, including $8 million to private property and $2.1 million to public properties.

The city is working with Milwaukee County and Mitchell International Airport to determine whether additional security measures and fencing installed at the airport in recent years may have contributed to flooding along Pennsylvania Ave. at Edgerton Ave.

"We believe the flood gates may be clogged, and DPW is inspecting grates to make sure nothing is blocked," Cudahy Mayor Ryan McCue said.

Heavy flooding from weekend storms is believed to have affected as many as 30% of property owners in this southeastern Milwaukee County suburb. It also knocked several municipal vehicles out of commission - including a firetruck, an ambulance and a squad car - all of which suffered flood damage while responding to calls.

The city has begun dispatching special trash crews to pick up flood-damaged property left at curbs, and is asking people to get rid of any standing water to avoid mosquito infestations (emphasis added my MJ).

City residents are being asked to fill out a damage assessment report available at city hall, the police department, fire stations, the library and online at, McCue said. The city expects more resources to be posted online later today.

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An Honest Mechanic?

For as long as I can remember, my family has always used the same mechanic.  This includes my Grandmother, aunts, uncles, mom, dad, sisters and maybe even my cousins.   

I never knew the draw to this particular shop.  I mean, as a child, you know a couple of times a year mom or dad has to take the family car to the shop for maintenance.  It was just a place they felt comfortable.

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We're pulling for you, Silverfish!

James family, Other blogs

Really, this isn't about to be the Knobbleknees blog.  As a matter of fact, I am kind of tired of referencing her in every blog entry.  She's a treehugger, for cryin' out loud.  But she keeps hanging around.  (Backstory:  My brother, Mr. Uncie fell into internet love with Knobbleknees, who was born and brewed on Long Island.  After the requisite 27 minute courtship, they got married.  This past winter, they moved to a western-Chicago suburb.)

This is actually a kinda-good story.  Recently, after a 21st century spawning ritual, she was diognosed as being saddled with twins.  Although she named them differently on her blog (and hasn't fixed it, yet) the family has named them Red Fish and Blue Fish.  However, in a subsequent sonogram, the tech found little Silverfish hiding in the background.  The fear is that Silverfish is too behind in development, and may just end up being absorbed into her body.

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Grocery Gouging

In between bouts of pouring rain on Sunday (what is up with all this rain, by the way?!?), I made a quick trip to the grocery store.  If nothing else, my employer’s wellness program has got me thinking about my not- so-great grocery purchases over the years. 

I usually eat frozen dinners for lunch during the work week.  I know they are full of salt and preservatives, but they are so darn easy.  Then there is my unquenchable sweet tooth requesting chocolate on a daily basis and, well, food that is good for you is downright expensive!  This has become even truer lately as the economy fumbles.

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60th and National Ave

East End, Green Spaces, mini parks, Six Points Area, West Allis

The other day while I was a passenger in a car with a friend we had to stop at the light on the corner of 60th and National Ave. I've always been pleased that the city put a small park/green space on that corner after they tore down the VFW Post and widened the corner. In other years, this mini-park has always been kept in nice condition. However, this spring it truly looks shabby. I spoke to Alderman Mike about it too. He admitted that his wife had commented that it looked neglected and shabby too. I'm not privy to information from the city IF they are planning on cleaning this up and putting in some flowers or not, but, since this area is almost the "Gateway to West Allis" I feel it should be kept up better than it is at this point.

There's way too much traffic in this area for this neglect not to be noticed by visitors, potential home buyers, renters and other citizens of the area. In fact when my house had areas that needed paint, I got a notice from the city that I had a time limit to take care of this situation. I was told at that time when I questioned the letter that "the the East End of West Allis has a lot of visitors driving through that might be interested in buying property" so the powers that be in the city "wanted all properties to look their best". My question is, doesn't this cover green spaces and mini-parks too? Perhaps since the city fathers are so concerned about potential property owners and renters that "might" drive through to check out all the new apartments in the Six Points area that these little green spaces should be given some priority. Or, is the East End being neglected or put last on the list because, well, you know, it's just the East End.

From the E-mail bag...

James family, My-Sugar-Na

BBear (who has told me she LOVES the blog... thank you very much, the check is in the mail [she will get a cut of my pay for this blog.]) asked in a comment "I have to ask...  Where did the kids get the nicknames from?"

Good question, BBear, and thanks for writing.

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All Shook UP

We have asked some of the characters from our next production to tell something about the upcoming prodution or themselves. The next several bogs will be from the characters form All Shook up.


Sheriff Earl (Kid Beat Box)
Sheriff Earl has an interesting relationship with Mayor Matilda after she saved him from his gambling addiction and drinking. With him being the new law of the land, everything is about to change.  From the outside, you may see him as a man of little words. However, this is not because of intimidation, as much as it is because he has a lot on his mind.  Earl's financial situation is in dire need of a miracle, and he is waiting for the day he can dig his way out from under his financial woes.


Alright, so I am writing on behalf of a "friend".   Not going to admit how I know this person, but let's just say she is as close to me as my sister.

When you talk about deadbeat dads, usually you think of a man who skips out on child support.  This case is much different.  My "friend" was married 8 1/2 years and had two daughters with her husband.  They eventually divorced and dad initially agreed to "watch" his daughters only when friend went to work.  He never took his daughters on weekends or holidays.  After 8 months, friend had to take ex to court to enforce partial visitation.  Ex ended up taking his daughters every other weekend.

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West Allis Charities, Inc. Gives $9,250.00 in Scholarships

The West Allis Charities awarded $9,250.00 in combined scholarships to West Allis Central and Nathan Hale High School students and alumni. The process of choosing recipients was exciting and enlightening for the committee. The selected students were chosen for their academic excellence, dedication to their school programs, their community involvement, and a financial need. Congratulations to the following students for your exemplary dedication and hard work! Nathan Hale Recipients: $1,500 Bryn Winter, $1,000 Julie Acker, $1,000 Samantha Weiss, $750 Amy Bielawski (Class of 2006), $750 Alexandria Gerschwiler, $750 Kyle Novak, $500 Michelle Kraus, and $500 Rachel Willmsen. West Allis Central Recipients: $1,000 Oren Bloom, $1,000 Angela Zivkovic, and $500 Heather Kucharski.


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Do the Milwaukee Brewers think that their fans are wimps?

Miller Park, Milwaukee Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Star-Spangled Banner

I was at the Brewers game last night, and it was a little breezy walking in from the parking lot, so I went back to the car and got a light jacket.  When I got to my seat on the first base side, I took the jacket off, figuring I may need it later.  (Side note which I have to add but really is out of place in this rant:  The lady that sang the anthems last night pretty much nailed it.  She sang O Canada in French, and hit the Star Spangled Banner pretty well.  Kudos.  Now if I could just remember her name....)
Then they closed the dome.  I was stunned.  Many times last night, I looked at the closed roof in disbelief. 
Have Brewers fans become such sissies that we can't handle baseball on a slightly cool, summer's evening?  I gave Brewers management the benefit of the doubt on some day games in May (when it is 60 in the sun, but probably 45 in the shade).  But having the dome closed last night has shown me the horrifying prospect of the Brewers becoming a dome team first, and only open air when conditions are perfect.
(Rambling here...) During the last few years of County Stadium, at one point during each game, the PA would ask "If we were in Miller Park right now, would you want the dome open or closed?".  I never attended a game where the crowd wanted the dome closed.  I remember being at a game in August 1997 at County Stadium in which they gave all attendees a pin commemorating the Milwaukee Braves 40th anniversary of their World Series win.  It was a Sunday afternoon game that was delayed four hours by rain, and when it started at 5:00 PM it was unseasonably cool and still drizzling.  Certainly this rainy day - after a four hour rain delay - would have been a push for a dome.  Negative.  The crowd wanted the dome open.
Wisconsin fans are hearty (see also Fans; Packers; Green Bay).  Certainly I understand closing the dome during inclement weather, or when it is truly cold.  But I think that the Brewers have crossed that line last night.  It was a line I had been fearing for seven years, and I don't think the line will push back.  I just see it getting worse.
Man up, Milwaukeeans!  Let's let the Brewers know how I feel.  Hopefully, at least one of you (I am looking at you, John from New Berlin) agrees with me.

A Family Ages

I spent last week in Eagle River, part of the Great Northwoods, in Northern Wisconsin.  My grandparents purchased a lakefront home on Otter Lake (part of the Eagle River chain of lakes) a couple of decades ago.  It was my grandpa's dream to retire to a home on a lake, but the dream has begun to tarnish. 

The first problem is location.  Eagle River is a 4+ hour drive from Milwaukee.  Not an easy trip if something serious would happen to one of them.  We've tried to encourage them to move closer to Milwaukee to no avail.  Sometimes they say yes.  Mom will run around, talking to retirement communities, picking up information about condos or apartments in places like Muskego, Waukesha, and Hartland.  She'll mail all the information to them only to have them change their minds.  Grandma's sight is poor and her balance is so bad, she cannot be trusted to cross the room by herself because the reality is she could fall over at any time (even with her walker).  That doesn't stop her from trying though, which makes it even worse.  Grandpa is her primary caretaker because they don't want a nurse in the house all the time.  They have a nurse who comes over twice a week for two hours each visit, but after that, Grandpa is on his own.    

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Our Theatrical Closet

A few weeks ago, I accompanied the director of our musical, "All Shook Up," Mary Beth Topf, to the attic of the West Allis Historical Society. We have a room full of costumes and clothing up there and we wanted to see what might be appropriate for the fifties-era style of our show.
I could not help but wonder about the stories behind some of these vintage clothing items. What were the weddings like for the two brides whose gowns now hang in our storage room? Chic Jackie Kenedyesque outfits still retain their long-ago elegance. Did these suits see exotic places and meet fascinating people? The row of men's suits span many decades and probably could tell many stories. When the brides donated their dresses, did they also give us the groom's apparel? Did a lawyer argue an important case in one of these three-piecers? Was someone elected mayor of West Allis while wearing in one of these suits? I will bet that the stories connected to these outfits would rival any told on the stage.
If you have sturdy, stage-appropriate garments that you would like to donate, please contact us at 414-327-2388. If your clothing has an amazing story to tell, be sure to let us know.
Remember, "All Shook Up" opens July 18. The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. Come see the clothes! 


We'll miss you, Shakey's

My-Sugar-Na, Restaurants, West Allis

Actual conversation heard Monday evening...

My-Sugar-Na:  "Did you hear that Shakey's is closing?"

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Accidental Drowning... Almost

There is a section under the roof my sun porch which has gently pulled away from the topside. I knew sooner or later this would have to be repaired, but I have yet to begin this task. Since then, a mother and father bird have decided to begin their new family in that specific area.

I have always had respect for the helplessness of such small animals. I am not sure why. Maybe it is because there is a place in my heart for those who cannot protect themselves. Could it be the mothering in me? Maybe. Yet, ever since I was very young, I have always tried to assist others in need.

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We miss you guys, too

Nostalga, Restaurants, West Allis

The other day, when I posted about Shakey's closing, I didn't know where I wanted to go with it.   Did I want to go down memory lane?  Did I want to talk about how I currently prefer Shakey's way more than Old Country Buffet?  Did I want to talk about iconic businesses closing?  Did I want to scold somebody (not sure who) about "other business interests"... I mean, what the hell does that mean, and why did the little blurb in West Allis Now (it certainly wasn't an article or story) not press that question?  Apparently sensing this blog entry coming, I see that they did post another couple of paragraphs the other day.

But when it came right down to it, the title that I posted said it all.  Nothing more needed to be said.

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