Tag Archives: briefs

Community bulletin board: Energy fair, art grants, awards and more

Energized for sustainable future: The annual Energy Fair promoting sustainable and renewable energy takes place June 17–19 in Custer. The fair, presented by Midwest Renewable Energy Association, is in its 27th year, making it the nation’s longest-running energy education event of its kind. Attendees can expect more than 250 workshops, as well as entertainment and exhibit booths and food and beverage vendors. For more, go to theenergyfair.org.

For the arts: The Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission awarded 47 grants totaling $98,494 for community arts, cultural and history programs. The county dollars were combined with funds from the Endres Manufacturing Company Foundation, the Evjue Foundation, Inc., charitable arm of The Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation. For more, go to danearts.com.

Rummaging for improvements: The Milwaukee NARI Foundation Inc., the educational and charitable arm of the Milwaukee NARI Home Improvement Council, raised about $8,500 in May with the 11th annual Home Improvement Rummage Sale. NARI provides financial and educational support to students pursuing careers in home improvement and remodeling, while helping to reduce the amount of construction and demolition materials in landfills. For more, go to milwaukeenari.org.

PPAWI’s praise: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin is honoring state Sen. Fred Risser’s contributions to women’s health with a lifetime achievement award. Riser is the longest serving state senator in the United States and has been at the forefront of championing policies that women, men and families benefit from today, PPAWI said.

“From the repeal of Wisconsin’s Comstock Laws in 1976 that made birth control and information about contraception available to all Wisconsin women, regardless of their marital status, to enhancing rape victims’ access to birth control to prevent pregnancy and comprehensive sex education for youth in our schools, Sen. Risser has lead the way,” read a statement from the organization. For more, go to ppawi.org.

Wright way to summer: Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin presents in June a tour of 10 architecturally significant buildings in the Racine area, including several Wright-designed structures and seven sites inspired by Wright’s vision. For more, go to wrightinwisconsin.org.

Get to the Big Gig: Pre-Fare digital ticket service is a simpler, cheaper way for Summerfest celebrants to get to the festival grounds this year. Plus, until June 24, people who purchase a Pre-Fare ticket can get a free weekday ticket to Summerfest. For more, go to ridemcts.com.

ART GUIDE: The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is offering a training course for docents on Tuesdays, Sept. 20–Dec. 13, at the museum. MMoCA docents conduct tours of the museum’s exhibitions to groups that range from school-age children to older adults. They also involve museum visitors in discussions that encourage them to look closely at and interpret works of art. For a position description and application, visit mmoca.org and click Support/Docent Program, or contact Sheri Castelnuovo at 608.257.0158 or sheri@mmoca.org. The application deadline is Sept. 9.

WIND ENERGY: Wisconsin Public Power Inc. plans to invest in wind power for its next electric generation need, according to a news release from Clean Wisconsin praising the development. WPPI recently issued a request for proposals for 100 MW of wind power, which is enough electric generation to power approximately 30,000 homes. WPPI is one of several utilities that met the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, which requires that 10 percent of electricity come from renewable sources, several years ahead of the 2015 deadline.

Send community announcements to lmneff@www.wisconsingazette.com.

Democrats open Milwaukee field office, other community news

HEY NEIGHBORS The Democratic Party of Wisconsin opened a field office in Milwaukee at 2701 N. Martin Luther King Drive and issued a call for summer interns and volunteers. Phone banks are being staffed Tuesday and Thursday evenings. For more, go to milwaukeedems.org.

RAINBOW REAL ESTATE The Jay Schmidt Group of Keller Williams Reality recently contributed $11,000 to the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center. The group created The Rainbow House Project and pledged the commission from the sale of two homes per year. For more information about the project, call 414-517-7716.

CYCLING INTO SUMMER The 35th anniversary UPAF Ride for the Arts is June 5 , starting at the Summerfest Grounds. Cyclists will ride 10, 25, 45 or 70 miles. To register to ride or volunteer to help, go online to www.UPAFRide.org.

TRIBES AND TOURISM The Native American Tourism of Wisconsin Conference takes place June 7 in Wabeno. Speakers include Forest County Potawatomi Chairman Gus Frank, Ed Hall of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and Paige Williams of Chickasaw Country Tourism. For more, go to natow.org/conference.

MILWAUKEE IN THE MOONLIGHT Milwaukee Riverkeeper and River Alliance of Wisconsin co-host the 11th annual Milky Moonlight Paddle down the Milwaukee River to Lake Michigan and then back. The event is July 18. For more, go to milwaukeeriverkeeper.org.

NEW DEAL DESIGNATION Wisconsin state Rep. Mandela Barnes, D-Milwaukee, was selected as one of 12 people to join NewDEAL/Developing Exceptional American Leaders, a national network committed to highlighting innovative ideas from state and local elected leaders who are “pro-growth progressives.” For more, go to newdealleaders.org.

DIGGS TO CHAIR AIDS WALK: Taye Diggs will serve as the honorary chair of the AIDS Walk on Oct. 1, which kicks off at the Summerfest Grounds in Milwaukee. For more, go to aidswalkwis.org. — Photo: Courtesy
DIGGS TO CHAIR AIDS WALK: Taye Diggs will serve as the honorary chair of the AIDS Walk on Oct. 1, which kicks off at the Summerfest Grounds in Milwaukee. For more, go to aidswalkwis.org. — Photo: Courtesy

WiGWag news with a twist: Feb. 25 edition

Suit and tie and buff

An ad campaign featuring two men — one wearing a suit and tie and another wearing an unbuttoned shirt exposing a bare chest — had the city council in Wales’ capital city hot-tempered and bothered. The council banned the ads from Squirt.org, an international gay cruising and hookup site, from buses and bus stops. The transit commission in Toronto followed suit, removing Squirt.org posters from subway cars and stations.

Made for Jerry Springer

A couple was arrested for having sex in a glass-enclosed cabin on a Ferris wheel over the Las Vegas Strip. Philip Frank Panzica III told local media he was in Vegas to get married, but not to his Ferris-wheel companion. He and his fiancée had a fight after he accused her of being pregnant with another man’s child. So, he headed to the Strip, got drunk on margaritas and wound up with another woman, performing intimate acts that were recorded on cellphone by people in the next car. His fiancé, a foregiving soul, bailed him out of jail.

In the running

A Federal Election Commission database shows 2,399 statements of candidacy for president in 2016. Some of the candidates you’ve seen on the debate stage or followed in the news. Others? Well, the list includes at least two perennial candidates — God and Jesus — as well as D-23 Megatron, Riff Raff, Kylo Ren, Luther T. The Merciless, Dank Ass Weed, Trump: the Muslim Dictator, Toy Testicles, Cracked Fourpounder, Mister Grump, Anus the Goat, Yoda Starwars, Disco Daddy, Vladimir Putin and the Antichrist, who is not AKA Ted Cruz.

Be afraid, be very afraid

A survey of 1,000 people conducted by a San Francisco market research group found the No. 1 fear for Americans is another mass shooting. No. 2: the election of Donald Trump as president. About 45 percent of those polled said they were extremely afraid of a Trump presidency. No. 3 was a tie — the fear that “Islamic terrorists will strike the U.S. in a massive attack” and the fear of a financial crisis.

Equalizing sex laws

Responding to a new Kentucky law requiring women to receive face-to-face medical counseling detailing possible health risks from abortion, a legislator introduced a bill requiring men to obtain spousal consent prior to obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction. The Democrat’s law also would require that such prescriptions only be issued to married men who swear with their hand on a Bible that they will not use the pills to commit adultery.

Fishy excuse

A Wisconsin man convicted for the 10th time of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated offered a fishy defense. He claimed his blood-alcohol level was above the level allowed by his probation terms because he’d been eating beer-battered fish. Jurors didn’t take the bait and the 76-year-old now faces up to 12.5 years in prison. 

Hate-fried brain

Following an anti-Semitic rant on social media, shock rocker Ted Nugent faced calls for his ouster from the National Rifle Association’s board of directors. The notorious hate monger posted pictures of 12 American Jewish leaders with Israeli flags beneath a headline saying they are the men and women “really behind gun control.” Nugent also posted a photo of Nazis rounding up Jews during the Holocaust and described gun-control advocates as “soulless sheep to slaughter.” The NRA issued a statement saying board members do not speak for the group as a whole.

Wonderous bread

A report in Natural News, a health and wellness magazine, raises questions about the content of commercially packaged bread. Labels on packaged loaves often show the ingredient L-cysteine, a nonessential amino acid added to speed industrial processing. L-cysteine, according to Natural News, is made from the world’s cheapest and most abundant natural protein source — human hair. “The hair is dissolved in acid and L-cysteine is isolated through a chemical process, then packaged and shipped to commercial bread producers. Ew!


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called for a protest against a New Hampshire winter carnival event billed as “Greased Pig on Ice.” The organization sent out an action alert condemning the event for “subjecting these highly sensitive animals to such a chaotic and violent ordeal, rife with screaming participants.” PETA called off the protest after learning the event didn’t involve pigs. Instead, a “Greased Pig on Ice” is a man in a pig costume skating with dollar bills tied to his costume’s tail.

Unholstered and unhinged?

Jeb Bush posted a photograph on Twitter Feb. 16 that showed a gun engraved “Gov. Jeb Bush.” His text said, “America.” In a day, the tweet got more than 22,000 likes and more than 22,000 retweets. And fueled lots of jokes. Author Sarah Weinman posted “America” and a photograph of actress America Ferrera. @Election_data posted a photograph of a squirt gun and “Britain.” Mashable posted a photoshopped image of Bush’s gun engraved with “Please clap.”

WiGWag: Battery with bacon, marijuana for relief, gorilla takes the cake and more

Where’s the respect?

A Sheboygan man is facing battery and disorderly conduct charges after allegedly throwing a package of bacon at his mother. The mother of Thomas Winkel, 44, said he grabbed her wrist and smacked her with the bacon, cutting her face in the process. Winkel, who appeared intoxicated according to police, said mom was getting on his nerves. 

Mary Jane for ‘George’?

The mainstreaming of marijuana continues with this medical breakthrough. Foria Relief apparently is the world’s first cannabis-infused vaginal suppository created to soothe monthly menstrual discomfort. The suppositories are made of organic cocoa butter blended with cannabis oil to deliver 60 milligrams of THC and 10 milligrams of CBD. The herbal remedy is non-psychoactive. No PMS jokes, please.

Duty calls

About 350 people responded to a jury summons in Pascagoula, Mississippi, by dialing in as instructed. However, the summons contained the telephone number for a sex hotline instead of the circuit clerk’s office. Callers were prompted to select “1” or “2,” depending on whether they wanted to speak with a man or a woman. The clerk’s office said most people probably realized that the number was given in error and hung up.

No diapers needed

Mix one part superstition, two parts fashion, a dab of celebrity idolatry and a heap of media frenzy and what do you get? “Child angel” dolls, the latest craze in Thailand. The dolls occupy a niche somewhere between Buddhist amulets and Furby toys. Their adult owners say the dolls bring good luck, especially if you treat them like your own living progeny by taking them on trips, treating them to meals and praying together at the temple.

In-flight fight

Delta Airlines sent an apology to passengers who were aboard flight 2598 from Los Angeles to Minneapolis on Jan. 22. The Aviation Herald reported that the flight made an unscheduled landing in Salt Lake City due to a fistfight between two flight attendants. The stop caused an hour-long flight delay, prompting Delta to offer travel vouchers to the frustrated — but probably entertained — passengers.

Gorilla takes the cake

The Philadelphia Zoo threw a birthday party for its beloved gorilla Motuba. The festivities included songs, presents and a cake made of Motuba’s favorite foods. But one of the great ape’s housemates snatched the cake and took it up to a perch, where she downed the concoction herself. The cake consisted of specially formulated chow — yogurt, raisins, vegetables and fruit.

Argument stripped

A federal judge has stripped a “GoTopless Day” activist of her core argument against a Chicago ordinance barring women from baring their chests in public. Sonoko Tagami sued after police ticketed her in 2014 during an annual protest of such bans nationwide. The protester said Chicago’s ban infringes on her free speech and other rights. But the judge said precedent requires that, to qualify as protected speech, passersby must be able to get the message that the nudity is conveying.

Not for the pee shy

How do municipalities deal with public urination? In San Francisco, where this apparently happens on a massive scale, the logical approach was to build a public urinal. The city’s first open-air urinal is open for business in Dolores Park. As WiG went to press, there was just one Yelp review of the pissoir. Alan Y. from Oakland said, “Now, instead of getting caught by Stanley Roberts behaving badly, you can just whip it out in the open and use the Outdoor Urinal at Dolores Park. There’s nothing quite like peeing al fresco. Make sure your shoelaces are tied before you venture in there.”

Thieving cheeseheads

Heisters usually go after cash, jewelry, famous works of art, vehicles and expensive electronics. But in Wisconsin, cheese is such a valuable commodity that it, too, attracts the interest of thieves. In late January, burglars stole $160,000 worth of Parmesan, cheddar and other cheeses in two separate incidents in the state. That value is not nearly as much as a painting by Van Gogh fetches, but it’s not too shabby — more than enough to qualify as grand larceny. Although the cheese has been recovered, the culprits remain at large. 

Say what?

A gun rights bill introduced in Washington state by a Republican state representative includes quotes falsely attributed to America’s Founding Fathers. The four-page bill devotes a page to quotes about gun ownership purportedly from the men who created the U.S. Constitution. But at least three of the quotes used in the bill and attributed to Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton were not said or written by them. A staffer speaking on Rep. Matt Shea’s behalf said he is “happy to amend the legislation, if necessary, to ensure it includes only accurate information.” 

Pipeline protest before Dem debate, and other community notes

Environmentalists protesting a planned pipeline expansion to bring more Canadian tar sands to Wisconsin will demonstrate on Feb. 11 outside the Milwaukee venue for the Democratic presidential debate.

The #ClipperIsTheNewKXL Rally will be at noon outside the Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts on the UW-Milwaukee campus, where Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley will debate that night.

Organizers of the youth-led demonstration are looking for lodging for travelers to Milwaukee.

For more information, email Cassie Steiner at

The debate is at 8 p.m. on Feb. 11 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus. PBS NewsHour co-anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff are the moderators.

Milwaukee Pride hires executive director

Milwaukee Pride, Inc., the parent organization of PrideFest Milwaukee, has named Eric Heinritz as its first executive director for a one-year, renewable term. 

Heinritz worked for Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., from 2001 to 2014 in a series of administrative leadership roles.  As a longtime volunteer and former member of the Milwaukee Pride, Inc. board, he has applied his knowledge of finance, operations and project management to increase efficiencies, create organizational structure and improve overall festival performance.

PrideFest Milwaukee is June 10–12. For festival news as it happens, follow Milwaukee Pride on Facebook and Twitter.

In other news

• SAFE COMMUNITIES BREAKFAST: The Safe Communities Annual Breakfast Meeting for “those with a stake in community safety” is set for March 3 at the Goodman Community Center in Madison. For more, email Safe Communities Madison-Dane Co. at

• EARLY INTERVENTION AID: The Medical College of Wisconsin’s Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment recently dedicated $300,000 over two years to help ensure children have access to early intervention developmental screenings in Milwaukee. Early intervention saves $13 for every $1 spent. For more, go to milwaukeesucceeds.org.

• WAY TO QUIT: The smoking rate among adults is at an all-time low nationally, but not in the LGBT community. LGBT Americans are up to 200 percent likelier to be addicted to nicotine. Experts at National Jewish Health run the nation’s largest nonprofit quitline, a first-of-its-kind program that matches smokers with counselors in their demographic group to help them quit. Tobacco-users who want to quit can call 800-QUIT-NOW.

• CHANCE TO BE SEEN: The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Google Maps “Street View” to bring the popular technology to member businesses, beginning the first week of February. A Google Street View photographer will be in Milwaukee on Feb. 2, Green Bay/Appleton on Feb. 4 and Madison on Feb. 5. For more, go to wisconsin-lgbt.seeinsidebusinesses.com. 

— from WiG reports

Unintimidated deer, season’s first snow, high-stakes draw and more

Unintimidated deer: Gov. Scott Walker’s was no more successful in this year’s deer hunt than he was at running for president. He tweeted Nov. 23 that he was “looking for a buck” in Vilas County and posted a picture of snow-covered woods. He tweeted the next day that he was “back at it,” with another picture of snow-dusted trees. He tweeted that it was snowing, his view was amazing and included another picture of the woods. On Nov. 25, he tweeted that he didn’t see any deer and included a picture of himself in the woods holding his rifle.

Season’s first snow: University of Wisconsin-Madison police said more than 100 fans were ejected from the football game against Northwestern, mostly over a snowball fight. Authorities reported 24 fans were issued tickets and 25 calls for first aid were received in the frosty frenzy.

High Stakes draw: In the same month that an island city in Florida decided a tied mayoral election by cutting a deck of cards, Mississippi settled a tied House race by drawing straws. The Democratic winner, incumbent Bo Eaton, pulled a 3-inch plastic straw. Republican challenger Mark Tullos, got stuck with a 2-inch red straw. At stake was a GOP supermajority in the House.

Just chill, grandma: We all know that a little pot can enhance the holiday spirit — or at least take the edge off those feuds, rivalries and debates that tend to surface when loved ones gather to celebrate. A number of cannabis blogs offer the perfect antidote: mouth-watering recipes for marijuana-infused pumpkin pies. Google it. And don’t forget to decarboxylate the weed before cooking with it for the full psychoactive effect. We didn’t know what that meant, either.

Tamale takedown: Federal authorities confiscated and then destroyed about 450 pork tamales at Los Angeles International Airport. The would-be tamale trafficker was fined $1,000 for commercial activity with the intent to distribute. A spokeswoman for border protection said foreign meat products can carry animal diseases.

Forget the question, the answer is ‘no’: The examples of the GOP’s reflexive opposition to President Barack Obama’s agenda are many, but this may be the best one yet: By a 27-point margin, Republicans say they disapprove of the president’s executive order last year pardoning two Thanksgiving turkeys instead of the customary one. Only 11 percent of Republicans supported the order, while 38 percent opposed it. 

Pretty plastic: Our literacy and longevity rates no longer top the world’s other nations, but when it comes to plastic surgery, the United States is unrivaled. In 2014, 4.1 million cosmetic surgical procedures were performed in the land of the free, accounting for 20 percent of the world’s total, according to data compiled by The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Business also is booming in Brazil and Japan, where there were 2.1 and 1.3 million procedures last year respectively.

Remember spellcheck: A British woman who tried to kill her husband by lacing his sparkling wine with antifreeze two years ago at Christmas was undone by a spelling mistake. When her husband was being rushed to the hospital, the woman gave paramedics a note she claimed that he wrote expressing his wish not to be resuscitated and to die with “dignerty.” Asked later to write the word, she repeated her spelling error.

Tracking down poopers: Some Florida condo owners are steaming after their homeowners association asked them to submit their dog’s DNA in order to fine owners who don’t pick up after their pets. A letter sent last week asked residents to register their dogs and cats with the association through a DNA test, citing an increase in the amount of animal feces found throughout the property, including inside the elevators. Condo officials said the measure is only meant to help keep the property clean. Some residents said they feel it’s an invasion of privacy. 

Message received: A six-term Georgia sheriff spent more than $500 of his own money to install a sign telling anyone who doesn’t like the way they do things there to get out. The sign reads: “WARNING: Harris County is politically incorrect. We say: Merry Christmas, God Bless America, and In God We Trust. We salute our troops and our flag. If this offends you … LEAVE!” Sheriff Mike Jolley told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer he installed the sign to “stir people’s belief and patriotism” and to give voice to the “silent majority.”

WiGWAG gets ready for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday

Instant undies

OffTheWagonShop.com specializes in the unique and, well, the unwanted gift — like the gift exchange goodie for the office guy who still gets a kick out of tricking people into saying “underwear.” OffTheWagon’s “funny underwear gifts” selection includes Instant Underpants, which retails for $3.99. Compressed into a compact pellet, the underpants expand in water. Uh, oh. Emergency Underpants are packed in a little tin that fits easily in a front pocket. Allegedly great for on-the-go emergencies — or overnighters.

Stocking stuffer?

This time of year, WiG gets inundated with pitches from PR reps promoting potential gifts. This is one of the more unique appeals, made on behalf of the Fun Factory, an “innovator” in the adult toy industry: An adult toy is “the ideal self-pleasure gift that releases feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins — you know, the clear-mood, confidence-building and stress-busting feeling you get after a great workout.” Plus, it’s a tool to boost brain productivity and help with weight loss. So, a little something for those making new year’s resolutions?

Red cup collection

For that cousin or brother-in-law who religiously reads the newsletter from the anti-gay Traditional Values Coalition or the magazine from ultra-right Focus on the Family, WiGWag suggests a complete collection of Starbucks’ red “holiday” cups — preferably used. And, while you’re enjoying your pumpkin spice lattes, we suggest tweeting a selfie and “Feliz Navidad” to Donald Trump. The GOP presidential candidate with the ugly hair and uglier platform has suggested a boycott of Starbucks over the minimalist cup design and vowed, “If I become president, we’re all going to be saying, ‘Merry Christmas’ again. That I can tell you.” Let’s tell him.

Don’t wear and drink

What On Earth offers dozens of T-shirt designs for the “me, me, me” character on your holiday gift list. The catalog specializes in “Your Name” gear. This year, with the craft brew revolution bubbling, the company expects to print a lot of T-shirts with customized personal beer labels and logos. Just be a pal and make sure that your beer-loving bud’s acting responsibly when advertising his or her brew.

For the 1 percent that has almost everything

The 2015 Neiman Marcus Christmas Book is out and the 89th edition does not disappoint. You probably can’t afford any of the featured oddities, but it’s worth a look just to see what the handful of people who’ve made billions off your labor and tax dollars are buying this year. For instance, there’s a journey for him and seven of his closest friends aboard a luxurious capsule attached to a balloon that rises more than 100,000 feet above Earth for 360-degree views ($90,000 per person). And the KRGT-1, the first bike produced by Arch Motorcycle Company, owned by Keanu Reeves and Gard Hollinger. Framed of steel and aircraft-grade billet aluminum with carbon fiber fenders and front cowling, the KRGT-1 has a 124-cubic-inch v-twin engine that produces 121 horsepower and matching 120 pound-feet of torque. The limited edition vehicle comes with a two-day ride experience for two along the California coast with Reeves and Hollinger. Hotel and airfare to California are included, along with a donation of $5,000 to The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation. The Arch Motorcycle and Ride Experience can be gifted for $150,000.

REI’s Reddit adventure

Jerry Stritzke, CEO of the outdoor gear company REI, tried to capitalize on the Internet buzz about his decision to close all stores on Black Friday by appearing on reddit to participate in an “Ask Me Anything” thread. The session might have been intended to generate positive comments but it backfired when former and current employees hijacked the forum to complain about the company’s allegedly toxic employment practices — particularly the emphasis on selling REI co-op memberships above all other performance metrics, including customer service and product knowledge. After reading over the lively — and long — thread, we’re guessing Stritzke lost more customers than he gained.


Smugglers hoping to give the gift of illicit Heinkens were foiled in Saudi Arabia, when customs officials intercepted 48,000 cans of beer with a wrapping that disguised them as cans of Pepsi. Drinking or possessing alcohol is a criminal offense in Saudi Arabia, ruled by an ultra-conservative Sunni government.

If you ask us, the smugglers should have stuck with Diet Pepsi wrappers — any confusion over the taste could just be chalked up to the lack of aspartame in the company’s new formula.

WiGWAG: The one about smoking and guns


In an attempt to shed light on the evolutionary puzzle of what factors result in cooperation among genetically unrelated individuals who meet only once, two German researchers examined a situation well known to everyone: standing in line at the checkout of a supermarket. The researchers planted two guys in line at the market — sometimes to buy only a bottle of water and sometimes to buy only a bottle of beer. The researchers found many people were willing to allow the single-purchase customers go first. However, they were more helpful to the consumers of water than beer. Obviously, the experiment was not conducted in Wisconsin.

Smoke out

New House Speaker Paul Ryan is feeling some angst about the odor of cigarette smoke his predecessor John Boehner left in his new office. Ryan, a health and fitness enthusiast, told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, “You know when you ever go to a hotel room or get a rental car that has been smoked? That’s what this smells like.” He added that he always avoided sitting near the chain-smoking Boehner in meetings. Ryan said his staff is looking into purchasing an ozone machine to detoxify the environment.

Pro-gun rep denies exposing his rod

An elderly couple participating in a citizen lobby day to promote gun control at the Capitol in Madison got a big surprise when they called on state Rep. Michael Schraa, R-Oshkosh. He pulled out his wallet to show them his gun permit and then showed them his piece. Terrified, the couple fled his office and notified security. Shraa later denied handling his gun in the couple’s presence. Shraa is one of the Legislature’s most outspoken pro-gun advocates.

Is that a pistol in your pocket, or …

Speaking of publicly touting rods, anti-gun student activists have hit on a novel way to protest a new Texas law permitting open carry on college campuses. About 3,000 students are organizing an event called “Campus (DILDO) Carry. “You’re carrying a gun to class? Yeah, well I’m carrying a HUGE DILDO,” organizer Jessica Jin, a student of the University of Texas at Austin, wrote on Facebook. Unlike guns, dildos are taboo on campus. Gun rights supporters have condemned the rally, which is scheduled for next year, when the new gun law goes into effect. 

Trigger happy

We seem to have a gun thing going in this edition of WigWAG. An Indiana pleasure hunter was shot by her dog — named Trigger — after she left her 12-gauge shotgun on the ground in a fish and wildlife area. The woman had been out shooting waterfowl and was taking a rest when Trigger stepped on her weapon and depressed the trigger, which had not been secured with the safety.

More about guns — a lot more

South Carolina officials arrested a man in possession of more than 7,000 stolen guns and up to 500 stolen chainsaws. The 51-year-old man was being served a subpoena on charges of trafficking opium and heroin when deputies discovered his arsenal. We couldn’t find an explanation for the chainsaws, but we can’t imagine there’s a good one.

Civic selfies

Moving from guns to shots, the ACLU recently won a federal challenge to Indiana’s law banning selfies at polling places. The ACLU argued the measure violated free-speech protections and restricted citizens who simply wanted to show their civic pride. The judge agreed. The case, however, didn’t address the question of selfie sticks in the voting booth.

Shooting your nuts

Speaking of odd selfie trends, nutscaping is rapidly becoming a thing. Nutscaping involves men dropping trou and photographing beautiful landscapes from behind and under their testicles, which hang over the resulting panoramic shot like a pair of hairy moons. Whip on over to nutscapes.com for a handy guide to this inexplicable phenom.


How frank are vegetarian franks? Not very, according to a study by Clear Labs, a food analytics business. The study found that 10 percent of hot dogs labeled vegetarian contained meat. It also found human DNA in 2 percent of its hot dog samples — and two-thirds of the vegetarian samples. We’re hoping this was a deeply flawed study.

Undercover and outfitted

A Maryland police officer went undercover to catch motorists using their cellphones while driving. He was dressed as a homeless man but held a sign that said, “I am not homeless. I am a Montgomery County police officer looking for cellphone texting violations.” The department issued 56 citations to obviously distracted drivers.

The witch, warlock and restraining order

A witch in Salem, Massachusetts, won a protective order against a warlock she says has harassed her for years on the Internet and over the phone. The self-proclaimed witch also says the self-proclaimed warlock mocked her on Facebook in a dispute that stemmed from a failed business partnership. Both own occult shops.

Travel news: Cuba guide, New Orleans lights, hotel emojis

Tourism in Cuba has boomed with the resumption of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S., and a just-published travel guide offers an up-to-date look at visiting the country.

“Cuba As Never Before” by Louis E.V. Nevaer, looks at not just classic attractions like Havana’s rum museum and Ernest Hemingway sites, but also offers a guide to some of the newest places of interest to tourists, including the contemporary arts scene, private restaurants known as paladares and even Airbnb listings.

The book also offers advice on car rentals, tipping, cruises, flights, tour companies and private guides, and explains current regulations on travel by U.S. citizens.  In addition, the book includes information on communities and subcultures ranging from Cuba’s gay and lesbian scene to surfers, Santeria and Cuban Jews.

Offbeat recommendations in “Cuba As Never Before” include La Marca tattoo parlor, Arte Corte Papito’s hair salon, and Promociones de ICAIC for original Cuban movie posters.


New Orleans is bringing back an unusual art installation and festival of lights called LUNA Fete that debuted last year.

The outdoor art-and-lights event uses historic buildings as a canvas for contemporary lighting, animation and interactive video. The event begins Nov. 29 and ends Dec. 5.

The undertaking is inspired by the Fete des Lumieres in Lyon, France, which attracts millions of visitors annually. The New Orleans project was one of three similar initiatives launched last year in the U.S., with the others in New York and Boston.

A work called “The Pool” by artist Jan Lewin, in which a pool of swirling circles of light and color changes as spectators interact with it, will be shown at Lafayette Square each night of the festival.

A second work by OCUBO, a Portugal-based studio, will use the facade of the Power House Theatre at 1847 Polymnia St. for the projection of a story featuring local children along with graphics and animation, also to be shown each night of the festival.

A third work will be presented Dec. 4-5 at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, where the artist Miwa Matreyek will present live performances integrating her shadow with animation of dreamlike scenes. That will be an indoor event with $10 tickets.

Local artists’ projects will also be shown throughout the week around those three sites and along Julia Street, New Orleans’ contemporary arts district.

The event is being produced by Arts Council New Orleans. Details at http://www.artsneworleans.org .


The Aloft hotel in Manhattan’s financial district has launched a new way to communicate with guests who need room service: by emoji.

The program is called Aloft TiGi for text it, get it.

The hotel sells six specialty kits, ranging from $10 to $30, which guests can order by texting the right emojis to a dedicated number along with their room number.

Kits include “The Re:Fresh,” with toothpaste, toothbrush, razor, shaving cream and deodorant, which can be ordered using emojis that include a tub and shower; “The Hangover,” two bottle of vitaminwater, Advil and two bananas, ordered with emojis for a drop of water, a pill and a banana; and “Surprise Me,” promising “fun swag” and “cool stuff,” ordered with an emoji of a wrapped box.

The hotel then confirms the order via text and delivers it to the room. Charges are included on the checkout bill.

Details at http://www.alofthotelshub.com/news/aloft-hotels-launches-worlds-first-emoji-only-room-service-menu/ . The hotel is located at 49-53 Ann St.

Groundwork Milwaukee wins environmental justice grant | And more community briefs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the award of four environmental justice grants totaling $115,100 to nonprofits to develop solutions to environmental problems in low-income and minority communities in Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit and Granite City, Illinois.

Groundwork Milwaukee Inc. will receive $30,000 to train teens and young adults from the 30th Street Corridor to build 15 rain gardens and install 15 rain barrels to collect stormwater runoff and prevent flooding.

The program will demonstrate how green infrastructure can lessen the effects of climate change.

In other community news …

JESSE EISENBERG AT BOSWELL BOOKS: Oscar-nominated actor and prolific writer Jesse Eisenberg will read from his new short story collection, Bream Gives Me Hiccups, at 7 p.m. on Oct. 30, at Milwaukee’s Boswell Book Company, 2559 N. Downer Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

ON THE COURT: The Milwaukee Gay Volleyball Association’s indoor season begins on Nov. 1 and goes through Feb. 14.
Matches are played at Beulah Brinton Community Center, 2555 S. Bay St. in Bay View.
For more information, go online to
www.milwaukee gayvolleyball.com.

RECIPE FOR DIVERSITY: Chai Point Senior Living in Milwaukee offers a variety of public programs — Jewish history lessons, cooking demonstrations and arts and culture workshops. For more, go to jewishseniorliving.org.

FIRST RUN: The inaugural Milwaukee Running Festival is scheduled Oct. 31–Nov. 1. Running events for all ages and abilities include a mile race, 5K race, half marathon and a marathon that counts as a Boston qualifier. There’s also a Health and Fitness Expo with food, vendors and trick-or-treat for the kids. For more, go to Milwaukee Running Festival on Facebook.

WALKING TO DEFEAT ALS: The ALS Association-Wisconsin reports the Oct. 11 walk-a-thon in Milwaukee raised a record-breaking $485,000 and included more than 7,000 people. Walks throughout Wisconsin in 2015 generated more than $735,000 to support patient services and programs. For more, go to www.vsals.org.

ECO EXTRAVAGANZA: The League of Conservation Voters of Wisconsin holds the Green Tie Gala at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 at Discovery World in Milwaukee. Former U.S. Reps. David Obey and Tom Petri are the guest speakers. For more, go to conservationvoters.org.

CONTINUED LEARNING: Now in its 13th year, the Odyssey Project at UW-Madison offers a two-semester college humanities class for adults dealing with single parenthood, homelessness, addiction, incarceration, depression, domestic abuse and other barriers to education. It provides 30 low-income students with free tuition, textbooks, child care and a weekly dinner. For more, go to news.continuingstudies.wisc.edu.

GOOD FOOD FOR THE SOUL: Feed Your Soul, a charitable art auction, benefits Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. The event is 7:30–11 p.m. on Nov. 7 at Flux Design, 811 E. Vienna Ave. Volunteers who work in the interior design and architecture industry organize the event. Since its inception in 2004, Feed Your Soul has raised over $365,000 to help feed the hungry in Wisconsin. For more, go to fysmke.com.

SAVE THE DATE: Milwaukee Pride announced the dates for PrideFest Milwaukee 2016: June 10–12 at the Summerfest grounds on the lakefront. The 2015 event drew 32,822 people. For more, go to pridefest.com.

• WEDDING BLISS: The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce holds its second annual Wisconsin LGBT Wedding Expo 11 a.m.–2 p.m. on Nov. 8 at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. For more, go to wislgbtchamber.com.