Normally, this column is a place for lighthearted news, little jokes and quirky tales. Not today. This is a story about injustice, wickedness, calumny, and being super unfair. There was once a young man. Let’s call him … Parker Arquette. He was quite the fella. Totally not short. Tall, actually. Over six feet and a face that looked very not stupid. And Parker had a dream. One day, he was going to hoist a thirteen-foot-tall spork over his head in victory. The crowds would scream in adoration, when Parker won The Sporkies, the State Fair’s annual inventive food competition. Eight years in a row, Parker entered a dish, and every year he lost. This year, he whipped up a beautiful dish: it had presentation, it had taste, it had strong odor. This was going to be the year—he could feel it. Milwaukee Mag’s own editor-in-chief and publisher Carole Nicksin was even going to be a celebrity judge for the finalists. And what happened? Parker didn’t make it to the finals. In years past, they at least sent cease and desist letters, but this year nothing at all. Who won instead? The Glazy Boy – a grilled donut sandwich with Fontina cheese, pork loin, raspberry whole grain mustard, and pickled jalapeños. You’re seriously telling me that’s better than a spaghetti-wrapped milk-soaked cereal-embedded ketchup shrimp on a stick? Man, I got screwed.
Joe Pera Returns for Season Three
“Joe Pera Talks With You” is my favorite show currently on television. (I say currently because, to quote Joe Pera himself, “It’s not Sopranos, but I did my best.”). The show follows Joe, a soft-handed choir teacher who lives on the Upper Peninsula. Joe looks like he’s maybe in his late twenties, but walks with a slow hunch, talks in the gentle Midwestern tones of a grandfather, and slurs his S’s like his dentures are slipping. He’s a delight to watch. The show’s hilarious, first off, but it’s also genuinely heartwarming and engaging. You feel better about things after watching it. Plus, season two had an episode where Joe drove down to Milwaukee and explored the city. And now this phenomenal show is being renewed for a third season to air on Adult Swim in the fall.
Sitting Down and Eating Chicken Tenders Like a King
The old’ Ups and Downs is pretty food-heavy this week, but there’s just no helping it. The food news is too good. The Bucks’ Deer District chicken tender restaurant, Cream City Cluckery opened in July 2020 for pickup and delivery only, and this week the squad announced that it’s opening a full sit-down restaurant in Mequon (10944 N. Port Washington Rd.) this October.
A New Gourmet Mac and Cheese Restaurant
Mac and cheese is the best thing ever. “What about the love of my husband?” you say. “It’s not better than our impenetrable bond of faith and companionship.” Well, unless your stupid husband makes you mac and cheese every day, I’m sorry, you’re wrong. Mac and cheese wins. Always. Unlike your husband, it’s versatile, addictive, and has never had a gambling problem. And good news – Milwaukee just got a new restaurant serving it up in spaces. Mac Shack, at 1701 N. Humboldt St., is offering make-your-own bowls, along with specialty dishes like the Greek Freak, a Giannis tribute mac and cheese with meatballs. These things look amazing. Although…
Gaining Three Hundred Pounds of Pure Mac and Cheese Weight in Less Than Two Months
Can’t write. Eating mac and cheese.
Fancy-Pants Elite Athletes With Their Hard Work and Discipline
“Ooh, look at me. I’m running a triathlon. I’ve been training for months and am now achieving a remarkable, admirable goal.” Blah, blah, blah. Your success is irritating. Some of us took five years of swimming lessons and still can’t float, ok? So when we see that a bunch of athletes are coming to Milwaukee this weekend for the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, it reminds us of our failures. Can’t you guys just, like, be less good at stuff? Maybe after you run the triathlon, you could trip going up some stairs? Or spill a beer on yourself? Or maybe close out of Word before saving a 1000-word Ups/Downs column and lose all your work and throw a small tantrum? Just something to make us sucky folks feel better. Please.
Johnny Trips and the Scooter Ban
Only three months ago, we published an article about the test program bringing scooters back to Milwaukee. Well, it didn’t work out great. The test program had a stipulation that if sidewalk-riding topped 10%, then it would be shut down. The city brought in a third-party consultant to survey the scoot-scoot situation, and it found that sidewalk-riders hit 30%, which means the city is banning scooters in the greater Downtown area, at least temporarily.
Now I’ve been checking with my inside sources (Their names are Boop and Shmoop. They talk to me when I turn the lights out). What I really want to find out is what exactly a “third-party consultant” surveying scooter usage percentages actually does. I’m picturing a guy in a trench coat – let’s call him Johnny Trips – standing outside the Public Market smoking a cigarette and counting every time he sees someone on a scooter. He’s been in the scooter-counting business too long, man. Seen some dark things. Scooters on sidewalks. Scooters on rooftops. Scooters in the homes of innocent men and women. It’s too much. He’s just one man. And he’s not as young as he once was. After he closes this Milwaukee case, he’s retiring, buying a small place up north. If only he’d been smart enough to hold onto Jessica, but nope, too late that for now. Just a lonely old man counting scooters like he counts the rest of his days.