I keep having this dream. I’m standing out in a barren field, and I see the sky, gray and lifeless. The air crackles with electricity. I smell fire and blood. Thunder rolls in the distance. A heavy wind picks up. I struggle to stand firm. A lawn chair blows through the air. The skies open up and rain falls in heavy sheets. The distant trees bend and crack under the force of the storm. A flash, and lightning explodes next to me, a burnt black circle where the grass once was. The winds coalesce into a dark tornado in the distance, coming my way.
I turn to run and see a head of unmistakable blond hair in the distance.
“Hey,” I yell through the wind and rain. “Are you WISN chief meteorologist Mark Baden?”
He smiles, somehow entirely untouched by the elements. “Yes, I am.”
“Help me, Mark. I’m scared.”
“That’s ok, Archer,” he says. “There is a severe storm warning in effect, as you can tell. This is not hype. This is not for ratings. This is not to scare you. This is to give you information that keeps you and your family safe tonight. This is the time to take precautions. Keep your weather radio on, and be sure to download the WISN News app so you can have extreme weather alerts delivered directly to your phone.”
Mark begins to levitate off the ground, a calming halo of light surrounding him. Behind him, a door appears in the middle of the field, held up by nothing at all, and as Mark ascends into the heavens, the door opens. I run through, and suddenly, I’m standing in the calm and quiet of my basement, safe from the storm.
Baden’s invaded my subconscious, I imagine, because he’s been the go-to weatherman in my household since I was a baby. He’s straightforward, affable and calming. When my parents were surfing weather stations before an impending storm, my father once said, and I quote, “Get it off these idiots. Find the real weatherman. The blonde one.” I echo that sentiment. When I was just a little seven-year-old hoping for a snow day, I was watching Baden. When I was in eighth grade, and a tornado swept through Kenosha in the middle of January, I was watching Baden up to the moment we all sprinted down to the basement. In high school, when a massive windstorm knocked down half the trees in the city, I was watching Baden. When I was in college … I kinda forgot Baden existed because I lived in Boston. But when I came back, I was watching Baden, and Wednesday night when those brutal winds were coming in hot, you know which beloved Milwaukee weatherman was on my television.
4 tornadoes now confirmed from last night. https://t.co/mrOQ4pesIj— Mark Baden (@Mark_Baden) July 29, 2021
The MKE Urban Stables
Imagine this – a gang of rogue Chicagoans rides up to Milwaukee and kidnaps Bango from the Bucks. Mayor Barrett rounds up a gang of seven rogues, scoundrels and hooligans to bring back our mascot. You might call them magnificent. He sends them to the new Urban Stables on Lincoln Ave. The Rotary Club of Milwaukee opened the stable this week to house the Milwaukee Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Unit horses, which are also used in “equine-assisted therapy” and “community engagement programs.” The posse moseys on down to the stables, and each man finds himself a trusty steed. They mount up, and set off to bring back Bango. They gallop into Chicago five days later, and Bango’s already in Mexico because of cars.
Paul Wahlberg in the House
As an aspiring reality TV star, I’m a big fan of Paul Wahlberg. Cooking up them burgers. Sharing genetic material with them actors. And my man Paul hit the streets of MKE this week to visit his Wahlburgers restaurants and grill of some “off-menu” black truffle burgers for local fans.
P.S. My show is going to be called “Reading Quietly in the Corner.” I think’s going to be a hit.
The Summerfest Lineup Expands
The full Summerfest lineup dropped this week and added over 30 new acts to the event. That’s pretty much the whole story.
Neil Armstrong was born in 1930 in Wapokoneta, Ohio. He served in the Navy as a pilot, fighting in the Korean War, and after college, he worked as a test pilot for NASA. In April of 1962, Armstrong was chosen for Project Gemini, an initiative aimed at landing a man on the moon. Armstrong was a quiet, enigmatic man. He rarely spoke or expressed complaint or dissatisfaction. He suffered deeply when his two-year-old daughter died of a brain tumor. His friends were incinerated in a failed test of the Apollo 1 spacecraft. And yet, he remained stoic in the face of loss, and on July 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong launched into space on Apollo 11, facing the significant chance that he would never return. On July 20, he became the first man to ever set foot on the moon. Decades later, in a commencement speech, Armstrong said this: “The single observation I would offer for your consideration is that some things are beyond your control. You can lose your health to illness or accident. You can lose your wealth to all manner of unpredictable sources. What are not easily stolen from you without your cooperation are your principles and your values. They are your most important possessions and, if carefully selected and nurtured, will well serve you and your fellow man.”
Why am I relaying this tale of American heroism and exceptional achievement? Because this big bearded guy in a backwards hat just ate 10 Culver’s Double Deluxe Butter Burgers in under 45 minutes. Woah, dude. That’s straight bananas. Randy Santel, a food Youtuber who lives in Milwaukee, went down to Florida to take on this limited time 10-burger challenge. The meal would have cost him $75 if he didn’t shove those juicy chunks of grilled flesh down his throat within the 45 minute limit. And this man – no, this legend – pulled it off in 44 minutes. The first, the only, the Randy.
Like, Neil Armstrong was cool and all, but this guy’s an absolute beast, bro.
Eating 10 Culver’s Double Deluxe Butter Burgers in Under 45 Minutes
The Slow Death of Bucks in Six
This week, the Bucks filed an official trademark application for clothing items branded “Bucks in 6.” While we all love the slogan, this might be the beginning of the end. What was so great about the chant was the weird spontaneity – the fact that it started with a random Brandon Jennings interview years ago and all the fans just sort of got it and it turned into this city-wide slogan full of meaning. Bucks in six was much, much more than just a literal, “I would like the Milwaukee Bucks to win this series in six games.” It was “Hello,” “Goodbye,” “I love Milwaukee,” “Victory is sweet,” “Life is painful, but someday we’ll see the light,” “I’m extremely drunk” and so many more sentiments all wrapped into three words that, for a few weeks, brought this whole state together.
I find it hard to hope that such spontaneous delight will survive UPSTO Trademark Application Serial Number 90836936, filed on July 19, 2021 by Milwaukee Bucks, LLC trademarking “Bucks in 6” on “Clothing, namely hosiery, footwear, basketball shoes, basketball sneakers, T-shirts, shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, pants, tank tops, jerseys, shorts, pajamas, sport shirts, rugby shirts, sweaters, belts, nightshirts, hats, caps being headwear, visors being headwear, warm-up suits, warm-up pants, warm-up tops, shooting shirts, jackets, blazers, ties as clothing, pocket squares, kerchiefs, wind resistant jackets, parkas, coats, baby bibs not of paper, baby layettes for clothing, headbands, wrist bands as clothing, aprons, undergarments, boxer shorts, boxer briefs, slacks, ear muffs, gloves, mittens, scarves, woven and knit shirts, jersey dresses, dresses, cheerleading dresses and uniforms, swim wear, bathing suits, swimsuits, bikinis, tankinis, swim trunks, bathing trunks, board shorts, wet suits, beach cover-ups, bathing suit cover-ups, bathing suit wraps, sandals, beach sandals, beach hats, sun visors being headwear, swim caps, bathing caps, novelty headwear with attached wigs.”
Writing an Ups/Downs Column That’s More Than 1,300 Words Long
If you read all this, you deserve a pat on the back and an apology. Unfortunately, you will get neither.