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Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Reader writes "you've been gamed"

Wauwatosa mayoral candidates, trolls, The Better Angels of our Nature

A reader wrote to chastise me for allowing folks to “smear” Kathy Ehley. Because no one stepped in to denigrate Pete Donegan, that’s the effect of the uneven response, he said.

I don't think I allowed anyone to smear anyone, but the reader deserves a response.

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The unbearable blandness of research parks

Research parks, Milwaukee County Grounds, dogs, better design, innovation

"I'm dirty; it's okay to jump on me," I say as we cross paths with the man and the black lab. He looks at me astonished and I realize what I have said.

I am of course referring to his dog, who moments before he had warned against doing any such thing.

My boon companion Idgie is on her leash, having been a rather bad dog, by which I mean having been fully true to her doggy nature. Leaping two four-foot orange plastic landscape fences in a single bound, she'd gone exploring in the almost-like-a-real-pond retention pond and would not return.

I'd panicked when she disappeared from sight. Could she drown there? I was of course forgetting that she can easily swim across medium sized lakes, though her lack of any lab-like genes makes her indifferent to the act. Eventually we reconnected--after I'd mucked through the swamp on the one day I hadn't bothered to wear my beloved Farm-N-Fleet rubber boots, and I'd clamped on the lead.

Idgie, like the black lab, was dirty, which meant she was happy.

"I'm dirty; it's okay." That's my motto for today. Monday night I had listened to the inspiring Cornel West at UWM remind us that this business of life is all about funk, to get into it and be it. Work and life are both a little funky in the process.

I'd been planning to walk with Idgie through the Milwaukee County Research Park. Since I'm looking for jobs, why not start where I already am, I reasoned. A mile and a half down the road and I don't have a clue what's there, though the buzz words "research" and "innovation" are always glued to any statements about the place. Got some experience with both of those, I figured.

But somewhere near the intersection of Innovation and Discovery, I realized I did not want to get out of the car into the field of building with no distinguishing characteristics after building with no distinguishing characteristics. And aside from a Children's Hospital System building, hardly a business name to be seen on the identical doors until you get to GE Medical, which not only claims itself but has some design chutzpah and a piece of sculpture in front.

I haven't seen a GE ad in awhile, but since they all start with "black belt in six sigma," I'm out of the running anyway. Later, I'll look at the research park website to see what's behind all those blank building faces. But it's hard to imagine working there. Something about the relentless anonymity and sameness of the place. . .

We walked instead in the place slotted to become another research park, Innovation Park. The word "innovation" used to be followed by "incubator" in the marketing materials for such places, but now it's "accelerator." I guess everything is moving at warp speed now, and the leadership of UWM gives it some claim on the fancier, faster term.

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"Openly practicing medicine" revealed, "scandalous material" concealed

Milwaukee Archdiocese bankrupcy, Madison protests and doctors, "crime" and punishment

This is a tale of two sets of records, one released and one sealed.

The headlines read 20 doctors disciplined for sick notes and Bishops’ testimony to remain sealed. You probably know the cases—the first, doctors who scribbled health excuses for protesters in Madison in February 2011, the second, the sexual abuse testimony of Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese past leaders in a current bankruptcy trial.

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Rocket Baby and the leavening power of yes

Rocket Baby, leavening, trickle down, the power of yes, economics, community development

I’m not sure if it’s the sun and grand opening balloons or the incredible croissanty crispness of a perfect blueberry cheese Danish, but this morning’s trip to Rocket Baby Bakery did much to restore my dented hopefulness.

People sat on a bench outside, chatting and watching other people strolling about, getting their Sunday ham at Cranky Al’s across the street or just enjoying the day. The only thing marring the scene of a vibrant city street was the blank marquee at the Rosebud Cinema, and there’s reason to believe the lights will go on again there.

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Hauntings and condemnations: the Eschweiler buildings

Escheweiler buildings, Wauwatosa Historic Preservation, Development, Milwaukee County School of Agriculture and Domestic Economy

For more than twenty years you’ve been in love with the red brick ruins of the Milwaukee County School of Agriculture and Domestic Economy on the Milwaukee County Grounds.

In a time of woeful, slapdash architecture, the peaked roofs and pleasing proportions of the Tudor Revival buildings delight your eye. A bookish person who doesn’t worry much about anachronism (and who does these days?), you imagine insane wives locked in the attics, former teachers scratching the blackboards at night with shivery ghost nails and hatching eternal torments for generations of unwashed, long dead, students.

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