Sarah Butler



Signs & Portents

You know it’s hard times when a city can’t even hold on to its parking signs. We’re talking about the little oval ones marking the numbered parking spaces that use LUKE, the electronic meter system. The city has roughly 3,000 of them, each sporting a logo representing the surrounding neighborhood, and in 2012, 143 went missing at a replacement cost of $13,513.50. No one is certain where these signs are all going, only that they still are. Another 62 ($5,859 to replace) disappeared in 2013, and it’s safe to say more will vanish in 2014. City officials cannot confirm that…

Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams talks at what seems like a thousand-words-per-minute in his Wisconsin Avenue office. He’s wearing a blue polo with an image of a cartoon robot stitched in the upper-left corner. A robotic dog sits atop the file cabinet behind him. He stops for a breath. “Am I saying too much?” he asks, legitimately concerned. With so many career highlights, it’s hard for Williams to know when to stop speaking. He talks about his engineering career at GE, his time teaching at Spelman College, the battery-powered rain detector he built as a child. He forgets to mention how, in 2008,…

Only one of these 15 Brits can find Wisconsin on a map

We’ve been rather amused with this viral Buzzfeed post, for which Brits were asked to label blank maps of the United States. Out of the 15 amateur cartographers, only three actually labeled something as Wisconsin and only one was correct. But we’ll give points to those two Brits who labeled Minnesota and North Dakota as Wisco, because they at least knew the word, right?  On maps where the state isn’t simply left blank (eight), here’s what our fine state was labeled as instead: 1. Ohio 2. Michigan 3. Idaho 4. Wyoming 5. “Mostly Woodland”   We can’t vouch for the accuracy of the…

Social Media Baby

It’s just like that “Dear Sophie” Google ad, where the dad writes emails to his adorable baby and everybody watching cries, but in real life. You might know him as the Beer Runner or the voice behind Marquette University’s social media accounts, but Milwaukee dad Tim Cigelske is also behind his children’s social media presences, the youngest of which was born yesterday and has around 40 followers on Twitter. Cigelske says he got the idea from a colleague and uses the accounts as a convenient way to chronicle his children’s childhoods. And his kids aren’t alone, as a 2010 study…

The ‘Real’ Superheroes of Milwaukee

Milwaukee’s very own “Real Life Superhero” may not drive a Batmobile, but rather, as journalist Tea Krulos says, a “pretty normal-looking” four-door tan Pontiac. And yes — Krulos is referring to a guy who prowls the streets of Milwaukee wearing a mask, spandex and rubber gloves. He calls himself “The Watchman.” But the Watchman also happens to have a basketball hoop in his driveway and a living room covered with his children’s superhero action figures. And he’s not alone. (Krulos also wrote about the Watchman for this very magazine in 2009.) In Krulos’s new book Heroes in the Night, he discovers…

Wisconsinites Love to Complain About Hangovers

Move aside, Bloody Mary. A hangover cure pill thinks Wisconsin needs them. Real bad. Blowfish — this magic, dissolvable pill — is a combo of aspirin and caffeine and will allegedly make hungover mornings much less miserable. And Wisconsin should be one of their top markets, as the company recently conducted a survey of over 5,000 Americans that concluded Wisconsinites are the second-worst whiners when it comes to our hangovers, with around 22 percent even calling in sick to work. (We come in third for most hangovers overall.) The study also tells us what Wisconsin’s favorite beer is (Surprise! Miller…

Local Blogger Recruits Homeless Man to Review Vodka

DudeFoods.com blogger Nick Chipman, whose recent $141.33 McDonald’s stunt received quite a bit of attention, pulled a questionable move in his latest blog post titled “Homeless Person Vodka Reviews.” Chipman asked a Milwaukee homeless man — who he assumes has some extensive alcohol knowledge, “because honestly, who knows more about drinking than homeless people, right?” he says  — to drink and review some vodka samples with him. In return, he pays the man $20 for offering his supposed vodka expertise. The post prompted some heavy debate on Facebook, as many commenters accused him of exploiting the homeless man, to which…

Werner Herzog’s Texting PSA Features Milwaukee Family

A Milwaukee family makes an emotional appearance in filmmaker Werner Herzog’s new documentary, From One Second to the Next, which includes devastating testimonials from both victims and perpetrators of texting and driving. “There’s a completely new culture out there,” Herzog told the Associated Press. “I’m not a participant of texting and driving — or texting at all — but I see there’s something going on in civilization which is coming with great vehemence at us.” The documentary’s first chapter, “The X Man,” features Milwaukee’s 8-year-old Xzavier, along with his mother and his sister. In October 2010, Xzavier was hit by…

Team Colectivo

During the Alterra-to-Colectivo transition, we learned the company did not also sell its mountain bike team to the Mars Company. It will stay local, just like baristas repeatedly assured us about our coffee last Monday. So naturally, the “Alterra Coffee Mountain Bike Team” has changed its name to Colectivo Coffee Mountain Bike Team and already had its new team kit ready to debut when the company announced its new name. In the past, the team has hosted rides like the Alterra Coffee Bean Classic (this year’s ride is scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 17), which has featured 2012 U.S.…