Here’s What You Missed in Milwaukee This Week: Sept. 10

Alcohol tax revenue skyrockets, giant hail falls and more this week in MKE.

The Third Largest Hailstone in Wisconsin History

This week, central and eastern Wisconsin got schmacked by storms and hail, and in rural Outagamie County, north of Appleton, a piece of hailstone was recorded at 4.5 inches. For context, that’s a bit bigger than a regulation softball, or roughly the thickness of my upcoming autobiographical novel, My Heart is a Cookie, and Your Lies Are the Raisins. It’s also the third-biggest hailstone ever to fall from the Wisconsin skies. The largest was in 1921, when a 5.7-inch hailstone was recorded in Wausau, but I bet they were lying. It was one year after Prohibition was passed – everyone was sober and bored, and those hooligans probably thought it would be funny to make up a big hailstone record that would fool people for a century to come. That’s what I think, and no amount of evidence will dissuade me from my opinion.

Wisconsinite Hits It Big as a Painter

Maha Sattva is a Beloit born-and-raised painter who’s been making waves in recent years. In 2015, he started posting his paintings to Instagram with only a handful of followers. His vibrant paintings of rappers and musical artists boosted the account’s notoriety, and now he has 100,000 followers, including a Twitter follow from Yeezus himself – Kanye West. Unlike 99% of artists everywhere, he supports himself entirely off his painting and has had work commissioned by West and many others.

So when this guy paints people without their permission, he’s an “artist” and gets to meet Kanye West. But when I paint people without their permission, I’m a “prowler” and get two restraining orders put out against me. Yet another example of injustice in this world.

Pumpkin Spice Puffs Are Back

Last year, the Wisconsin State Fair stepped up its game by introducing flavored cream puffs. The MilMag staff did a tasting of the pumpkin spice one, and I very much enjoy the article that came out of it. Well, one year later, the fair is bringing the pumpkin spice puffs back for just one weekend – Harvest Fair at the State Fair grounds from Sept. 24-26. Plus, they’re adding a new flavor: Latte cream puffs.

I spent 20 minutes trying to come up with an original pumpkin spice joke, but I couldn’t do it and it’s just about lunchtime, and your boy is hungry for some muffins, so here’s a picture of a horse instead of a joke. Hope you like it.

Photo by Getty Image

 

 

Skydiving

Wisconsin is home to its own champion skydiver: Elliot Byrd. He lives in Mount Pleasant, and every once in a while, he jumps out of a plane and wins a gold medal. Most recently, he and the U.S. team took home gold at the World Parachuting Championships. Byrd’s job is to tape the performance, while his freefalling teammates execute elaborate formations in the air. I love this story. It reminds me of the good old days in Cuba. Those late-night HALO jumps with the boys. Let me tell you, there’s nothing more peaceful than floating down to the sand with nothing but your night-vision goggles on your forehead and a poisoned cigar clenched between your fingers.

Photo by David Wybenga

Charlie Berens Helps Folks Out

About a year ago, the MilMag staff were all having a Zoom debate about who to put on the cover of our August 2020 issue. The theme was “What it means to be a Wisconsinite.” We needed someone who sums up that traditional Wisco energy. I, of course, wanted Tony Danza. There followed some debate over my suggestion: “Can someone please mute him? Dear God. Who even invited him to this meeting?” I was unfortunately overruled. We ended up going with Charlie Berens, a comedian and YouTuber who has established himself as a beloved voice of the stereotypical Wisconsinite over the past two years. While I still believe that a cover with the Big Daddy Danza would have been the sophisticated choice, the Berens cover turned out pretty great.
Not to mention, our designers had a great time working with Charlie and he even signed some copies of the magazine. Well, this week, we found another reason to like the guy. He’s donating 100% of the profits from selling his “Go Packers and Fxxx Da Bears” T-shirts to the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, to raise money in the wake of Hurricane Ida. That’s Midwest nice through and through.

Droughts

Northern Minnesota has been in extreme drought territory for the past few months, and now that drought is extending into northern Wisconsin. The meteorologists will tell you this is because of pressure doo-dads and climate flim-flams and whatever other nonsense they can use to obscure the truth of what’s happening here.

It’s Minnesota’s fault.

Open your eyes, sheeple. Those Minnesotans have been gunning for us for years. Now they’re finally launching their attack. It’s as clear as day. They’ve afflicted themselves with an extreme drought for months on end, so they can spread that rainlessness to our shores, just like they spread their horrible culture and cuisine. (The Vikings? Cookie salad?! Does this state have no decency?) We should have known this was coming. We should have prepared. But I fear it may be too late. The Minnesotan drought is coming our way, and once it overtakes us, I fear the invasion won’t be far behind.

The Largest Increase in Alcohol Tax Revenue Since 1972

Scene: A wrecked apartment. Bottles, cans, soiled underwear and suspicious paraphernalia are strewn across the floor. Dark curtains hide the sun. Our main character, Victor, is lying face-down on the floor, shirtless.

A knock at the door.

Victor pushes himself up, groaning like an over-the-hill luchador after a particularly nasty bout. His nose looks broken, and there’s blood down the front of his mouth. He stumbles across the room, wading through the bottles and cans, and opens the door.

Adam, his friend, is standing there, his face is marred by disappointment and anger. Victor can barely meet his eyes.

Adam: “Again, Victor? Come on, bro.”

Victor doesn’t respond. He flops down on the torn couch.

Victor: “What happened last night?”

Adam: “You got in five fights at three bars, and when I tried to take you home, you jumped out of the car and ran off, screaming, ‘Bootyhole Jones will never be tamed.’”

Victor buries his hungover head in his hands.

Victor: “I think I have a problem, dude.”

Adam: “Yeah, man, I know you do.”

Victor: “Taxes.”

Adam: “What?”

Victor: “My problem is taxes, bro. Wisconsin collected 16.6% more from excise taxes on alcoholic beverages in this fiscal year ending June, 30 2021. Revenue rose from $63.3 million to $73.8 million. It was the biggest increase in alcohol tax collection since 1972. These taxes are costing me so much, Adam.”

Adam: “But Victor, according to the Wisconsin Policy Forum, Wisconsin has some of the lowest alcohol taxes in the country. The increased sales will only have a marginal effect on the state’s finances.”

Victor: “You believe 10 million dollars is marginal, Adam? You’re failing to consider that from 2009 to 2020 the percentage increase in alcohol taxes never rose above 2.4%. I would say a 14.2% difference cannot be written off as merely marginal.”

Adam: “You are entitled to your opinion, Victor, but you have to consider that if you lived simply a few dozen miles south, you’d be paying far more in excise taxes, not only on your copious alcoholic consumption but on other goods, not to mention your income as well.”

Victor: “I don’t have a job, Adam.”

Adam: “My point stands.”

Victor: “I suppose that is valid. The taxes may be high, but they could always be higher. Kind of like how life may be awful but it can always get worse.”

Adam: “Indeed.”

Victor: “This has been a fruitful discussion, my friend, and I am glad to have had it. Now, if you’ll excuse a moment, I’m going to puke.”

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Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.