Saturday, June 30, 2012

Flapping Art

Right smack on the edge of Lake Michigan is the Milwaukee Art Museum, with the Quadracci Pavilion by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrave.  Windhover Hall features the Burke Brise Soleil, a moveable sunscreen with a 217-foot wingspan that unfolds and folds twice daily. 

My new favorite company name.
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These are the brands of MillerCoors, Inc, which is a joint venture between SABMiller, a UK company with headquarters in Milwaukee.  Confusing, isn't it?  Frederick Miller purchased the Plank Road Brewery where he founded Miller in 1855.  Adolph Coors moved from Prussia to Colorado and opened the Golden Brewery/Coors in 1873.  

Now we turn to steamship Captain Frederick Pabst.  He married Maria Best, the daugher of Jacob Best, who established the Best Brewing Company in 1848.  By 1874 it was the nation's largest brewer and became Pabst in 1889 when Frederick obtained 51% from his brothers-in-law.  Pabst sales reached a 15.6 barrels in 1978 but then went into a steep decline.  Apparently it has been rediscovered, because sales have increased 70% in the last three years.
 A decent beer at a decent price, they say.  It is now owned by Dean Metropoulos and production is handled by - guess who - Miller.
  The original brewery building is being preserved and restored to its former glory.  Some of the beers under the present Pabst umbrella are Pabst (duh), Schlitz, Old Milwaukee, Colt 45, Blast, Lone Star, Old Style, Rainier, Olympia, Stroh's, Blatz, Schmidt's, McSorley's, and St. Ides. 

The house that beer built for the Captain and Maria.

Is it P for Pabst or P for Petri?
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Thursday, June 28, 2012


We arrived in Milwaukee yesterday afternoon and went to explore downtown, but got caught in Summerfest, the annual 11-day music party, with over 700 bands, most of them names I've never even heard of.  It was started by Mayor Henry Maier, to revitalize the downtown neighborhood.  Mayor Maier (isn't that fun) is gone, but the party continues.

Today we drove to Racine with the intention to tour the S C Johnson company, which is a Frank Lloyd Wright building.  Nope.  Sorry.  "The tours are only on Friday and you can't go past the red gates but you're welcome to take pictures from behind the fence."  Hmm.  So we turned tail and went to Wingspread, another Wright-designed building, which was the home of H F Johnson Jr.  Nope.  Sorry. "This is private property, now operated as a conference facility and tours are by appointment only."  Then we tried to find a cute little cafe along Lake Michigan.  You can guess the answer.  Maybe there are several but we weren't in the right place.  It was a disappointing trip, and the Kringle Capital didn't impress either of us.  We did find Bendtsen's Bakery, which claims to make the #1 Kringle, which is just a very skinny croissant filled with jam and cream cheese and formed into a big circle.  Maybe I'm just in a very bad mood because of all the bumpy roads (lots of construction everywhere, but very few good roads so far) and the heat (96) but it didn't impress me.  They didn't even have a chocolate variety!  Then Al got cranky because we couldn't find a Walmart -  his favorite place of all - close to the RV Park (which just happens to be the Wisconsin Fairgrounds).  So now it's time for cocktails and Homer's effective air-conditioning and maybe we'll be ready to enjoy Milwaukee tomorrow. 

Oh, wait.  There was something fun.  We went to an RV supply store to get a cover for the ceiling fan (so we can still have it running when it rains) and the guy told us that they do repair work on the Weinermobile.  How many people can say that? 

Wisconsin - Come Enjoy Our Dairy Air

There is so much to tell you about Wisconsin!  The word comes from Ojibwe Miskasinsin, which the French recorded as Ouisconsin before it morphed to the current spelling. 
It either means "red stone place" or "meeting of the waters" depending who is telling the story.
The noon concerts in front of the capitol building include a polka contest, doncha know.

Also invented here - the snowmobile.

Hamilton Beach or Kitchenaid - which do you prefer?

  There are a few more words of legalese, but this law is still on the books.  

The Governor's Mansion - where Scott Walker will remain.

Here is a very short list, in no particular order, of people from Wisconsin: Carrie Jacobs Bond, Jane Hamilton, Georgia O'Keefe, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Ole Evinrude, Oscar Mayer, Dean Witter, Frederick Pabst, Joseph Schlitz, Willem Dafoe, Chris Farley and his brothers, Lynn Fontanne, Alfred Lunt, Harry Houdini, Jackie Willgoss, Hattie McDaniel, Pat O'Brien, Pat Petri, Gena Rowlands, Spencer Tracy, Orson Wells, Gene Wilder, Gary Burghoff, Jane Kaczmarek, Chris Noth, Allen Ludden, Tony Shalhoub, Greta Van Susteren, Woody Herman, Al Jarreau, Liberace, Les Paul, Stephen Ambrose, Douglas MacArthur, Golda Meir, William Rehnquist, Jim Lovell, Deke Slayton, Eric Heiden, Bud Grant, Burleigh Grimes, Curly Lambeau, Danica Patrick, Laverne, Shirley, Fonzie, and Barbie.  
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Monday, June 25, 2012


Here are just a few more things for which we can thank Wisconsin:
air hat for divers; malted milk; butterfat test (or I could just do it); American Girl dolls' the Stormy Kromer cap; brandy old fashioned (Wisconsinites consume more than 40% of all the brandy in the US); the weather service; fractional horsepower motors; Oscar Meyer; Mercury outboard motors; Hamilton Beach, S. C. Johnson; Land's End; Die Hard battery; Tombstone pizza (what would a tavern be without it); Ore-Ida foods; Kimberly Clark (ah-choo!); Fort Howard paper; Kohler; West Bend; Regal Ware; Parket pens.


The Wisconsin Historical Society tells us all about the things for which we can thank Wisconsin..  Here are just a few.  Click on the photo and it should enlarge so you can read all about it.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

San Francisco

We're back!  Marco went on his very first Italian vacation, with his roommate, Sara.  They are already having a fabulous time in Venice while Al and I enjoy their apartment.  The 75-year-old Golden Gate bridge is over yonder, but the fog has come in and I can't see much of anything but gray.  I love it!  Al will be working at the restaurant while I flit about town. So much to see, so much to do, so much to eat.  Didn't I tell you that life is grand?  There won't be much to report for the next couple of weeks, (unless you're interested in my expanding waist - it's not just June that is bustin' out all over) but I'll be sure to let you know if something noteworthy happens.