Sunday, October 29, 2006

What Costume(s) Shall The Poor Girl(s) Wear?

Of all the places in Milwaukee I would go to see a Velvet Underground tribute band, I have to admit that the Up and Under wasn't exactly the first place that popped into my head. C'mon, its a stright up bar blues joint, nevertheless, its a good place to see a band.

Full disclosure: I pretty much know everybody in this band. As a matter of fact, I pretty much knew everybody (some only as new acquaintances) in the freaking bar that night.
But I'm still learning to shoot bands with digital, so it was a good band to work with, because they presented me with all the classic challenges: they move around a lot, the lighting is pathetic, but flash looks terrible.

Mark Shurilla, dressed as Andy Warhol (who never actually played with the Velvets, he just gave 'em a place to play, "produced" their records, hoisted Nico upon them and allowed them to drop his name to get noticed) has been leading this little project for just under a year now. Fortunately, he's decided to retool the band a bit. They used to have a sax player. WTF! I don't seem to remember John Cale doubling on sax, or even Doug Yule for that matter. And with the sax, you could probably get away with it and do Lou's non-Velvet hit, "Walk on the Wild Side" but they didn't even do that. No, the sax took up room on the stage. Problem No 2: Dan Mullen on bass. Now, Dan Mullen is a fine bass player. In fact, he plays bass in MY band. But he's totally wasted on bass in a VU band. You need somebody with the guitar chops of Dan Mullen to go way out into exploding plastic inevitable zone, and despite all Shurilla's charm and stage presence, he's not the man to do it. Mullen is.

So last Friday was the night to see the new and improved lineup, and new and improved it is. Mr Sax is gone, and replaced with Chris Loss on keyboards. I haven't seen Loss onstage with a set of keys since, oh, the old Trance and Dance band days, and that alone brings the right mindset for this project. Second, Shurilla brought in Bob Jorin on the bass, so that Dan "No, Mark, that's formerly of Plasticland" Mullen could take his rightful place as lead guitarist. Jorin, along with Andy Pagel are holding down the rhythm section so well that Shurilla and Marla (I need to get her last name) as "Nico" can front the band and blast off. You could tell Jorin and Loss were the "new guys" by their stage presence and melodic restraint, but I don't think it will take them long to get comfortable making us uncomfortable with wacked out sounds. I'll re-visit this in a few months.

Halloween weekend was the correct weekend to open this up to the public. A couple of women dressed to the part took to the dance floor, all S&M'ed up for a recreation of Venus in Furs. Any other weekend they would have been written of as scary S&M Dominatrices; this weekend they fit right in. (There were people in the bar who clearly had no clue what the VU was all about.)

The thing is, Mark Shurilla doesn't need to put on the Andy Warhol Wig. Marla on the other hand, looks smashing as Nico! But she can sing in tune, and that takes a few Nico-notches down. (Note to Mark S -- get her a monitor next time. It was obvious -- and she confirmed to me afterwards I was right -- she couldn't hear herself the whole first set, and that's not good.) But to the point: the thing about a VU Tribute band is that we know we're not getting Lou and John and Moe and Nico. Lou Reed's songbook is one of the few where anybody could be playing it, with any style, and still evoke the same feeling you get. They went into Venus in Furs and in a very pavlovian response, I instantly got strung out. I haven't been that strung out in YEARS. But that song does it to me: I'm in the old Odd Rock Cafe, its a Saturday night after a Friday all-nighter of drinking and debauchery, but for some reason I hopped the No15 bus and dragged my strung out keyster to the club to be one of eleven people to see some unnamed band. Then they pipe into "What Goes On" and I'm instantly transported to the Falcon Bowl, the first night I saw the "Trance and Dance Band" in the early 90s. And then they do "Beginning to see the Light" and its 1983, I'm DJing at my college radio station, and I'm hoping to get tickets to the Talking Heads show at the student auditorium. Yes, going to see any band that plays VU all night is ripe for flashbacks. Good ones, at that. But especially with these guys: since I happen to know personally that these songs mean just as much to them as they do to the fans. I think that's probably the case with all tribute bands, but this one especially. The VU, as Eno famously reminded us, are half the reason many of us first picked up guitars. The first song I ever learned to play on guitar was "What Goes On." I was talking to a bass-playing friend in the crowd, and we both agreed that the Lou Reed songbook is a must-learn for anybody with rock and roll aspirations. What genius to write such a slew of three-chord bits that are so different from other stuff out there. First time in a long time I stayed to the bitter end for a band, despite the fact that I knew my three year old would rack me out of bed five hours later. That's how worth it it was.

Helping Consumers Trust Brands

Helping Consumers Trust Brands
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
OK, here's my theory about what goes on at this place:

Dr Hartley: So tell me, what seems to be the problem.
Mrs. X: I just can't trust brands anymore. I'm locked into this terrible hell where I have to buy generic all the time, even when there's recipies that call for, say Fleishmanns margarine, and i'm afraid if I don't use what's called for, the recipe can't work. But I'm still too afraid to trust a brand.
Dr Hartley: So, why can't you trust brands? Were you disappointed once by a brand once?
Mrs. X: Oh, Dr Hartley, how did you know? [breaks down into weeping]. Yes. Yes. This one brand, promised me, promised me, I tell you, this brand said it would get my shirts whiter that white. Cleaner than clean. Well, I bought it. I believed in it. I trusted it. And it let me down! And then I listened when another brand promised me that my whole family would love the stroganoff. And they hated it. Promises broken! Deception! Lies! I just can't trust brands anymore, and I feel terrible about it. I want to trust brands, but I'm so afraid that time and time again, they'll just hurt me. They'll just let me down. I can't risk being hurt like this again, so I'm just not trusting brands.
Dr Hartley: Now, I know you know that not all brands are lying and decepting brands, right?
Mrs X: Yes, I do. My head knows this. My head even gives them the benefit of the doubt, that they're not lying or deceiving bastards, but that they're trying and they're failing me.
Dr Hartley: But some brands actually live up to their promises.
Mrs. X: I know. I see it all the time. My neighbors have told me that Febreeze actually gets the cat piss smell out of the couch, and I'm so jealous and bitter that they've found a brand they can trust. Why can't I? What's wrong with me? Why can't I find a good, honest brand that I can trust?
Dr Hartley: I'd like to try a little experiment. Why don't we start with a brand that doesn't promise you anything? It just exists. Apply directly to the forehead. It won't let you down. Why not come in a week later and let's see how that works for you?
Mrs. X: I'll try it!

----one week later -- ---

Dr Hartley: OK, now how did that brand work for you?
Mrs X: Oh Dr Hartley, I've got problems. Look what happened! You see! When I choose a brand that is so cheap you don't even know what it does or promises, it freaks out on you. Yes, I can trust this brand, because it doens't make any promises. But it's so cheap and nondescript that, well, it freaks out on you? Why? Why can't I find a good, normal, brand that I can trust? What's wrong with me?
Dr Hartley: Oh my. Well, we'll work on this. It's going to take some time and a few more sessions here, but I promise you, we'll help you to trust brands again. But we're running low on time, and I have another patient to see.
Intercom: Dr. Hartley, Mr Carlin is here. He's very upset.
Dr Hartley: I'll be with him in a minute. Now, Mrs. X, you just go home, and take some Advil...
Mrs X: I'm going to just take some generic ibuprofen for that headache...
Dr Hartley: Try advil. Trust me. Advil will make that headache go away just as well as the generic ibuprofen. You don't have to trust the brand. Just trust me, and we'll work on the brand. Next week at 2?
Mrs X: [nervously] Yes. Next week at 2.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Gettin' cocky with the Bucks

I'd promised a whole lot of people I was going to hit Gallery Night this weekend, and a whiny, bordering on sick toddler said, both verbally and nonverbally, "No." No, mom, you're staying put and you're hanging out with me and we're going to watch cartoons on the sofa cuddled up all nice and tight. So that is what I did. Sorry, no gallery nite report from me.

Saturday was a different story. We had tickets for the MACC Fund Bucks exhibition game against Denver and we had a sitter booked, and Sammy was in a considerably better mood, so we checked our parental guilt at the back door and went. I know it's only an exhibition game, but this gave us a chance to scope out the Bucks and their mise en scene, as readers of this blog know I am wont to do.

First off, the new uniforms aren't as bad as the new color scheme threatened they'd be. Have I gone into detail yet about how much I hate this new color scheme? Its great for December, but beyond that, the red, green and reindeer logo scheme isn't getting the job done for me. It makes me want to hang up twinkly lights and watch cute little animated films, like "Christmas With The Harlem Globetrotters." However, the new uniforms really downplay the red, and on them, its almost a (digging out my discontinued Crayolas) burnt sienna. The uniforms worn Saturday are really big on the forest green. Their warmup jackets have a red swatch across the back that looks like those pinnies we used to have in gym class to distinguish the red team from the blue team. (Uh, girls did NOT play shirts and skins, you know.)

Not in uniform tonight, of course, were injury listees Bobby Simmons and Andrew Bogut. Korean Ha Seung-Jin wasn't suited up for play for whatever reason, either. Bogut nevertheless, looked massively stylin' in an off-black, almost sharkskin suit, with baby blue shirt and matching baby blue silk tie, topped off with a large enough earring to be seen from our seats. He needs a better haircut, tho. He is really a good looking fella, almost has an Ashton Kutcher thing going for him, but for some reason, nobody can photograph him without making him look like a massive stoner. Simmons wore a nondescript suit. C'mon, Bobby, you're an NBA starter now, don't be letting the europeans show you up here. And Seung-Jin was wearing jeans, topped with a dress shirt and a long, seamless-in the back loose fitting black leather sports coat. Wait, back up a minute. Jeans. On the court. Somebody fill me in here, isn't that a violation of NBA dress code? Then again, in that black leather and 7'3" frame and jet black hair of his, he was looking more like a James Bond villain than an NBA player. Who's gonna tell THAT he can't wear jeans? And those technically might not have been jeans: maybe they were heathered blue tencel. Still, I wonder if the NBA fashion police have had a talk with him yet.

Energee girls have new outfits too. All black, with logo across the top, bare midriffs, and depending on the schtick, either a mini skort or bell bottomed pants. Sharp, not slutty. They did a predictable halftime routine to Micheal Jackson's "Thriller", and all dressed up in stuff out of the "Grown Up Costumes for a Flirty Hallowes Eve" catalog. I'll wait for the regular season to really critique them. Looks like most of last year's girls are back: the burnout chick, the bottle blonde, the one with the "no that's not what I would use for a running bra" physique, the ever changing one who obviously has access to an amazing haircolorist. They could use a little more representation from the Asian and Hispanic communities, however.

Anthem this evening from a promising singer by the name of Ali Rozina who started out great. She looked like Brooke Sheilds with an good eyebrow job. She has a strong, sometimes raspy (not quite gravely) voice that she used well. Well, almost. Yes, she hit "rockets red glare" and "laaaa-and of the free" no problem, but that's not where she lost me. Right before "rocket's red glare" she got the stupid idea that maybe she should throw in that annoying nu-country habit of groaning out the first word of a phrase like she was a porn star. "Aaaaaannn the rockets…." "Gaaaaaaaveee proof …." "ohhhhhhh say does that star…." For Pete's sake, this is the national anthem. And then, as though encouraged by the polite silence, she started warbling out the rest: "banner yet waaaaaaa--ye-yaaaa-ve-aveeeeee." Please, Rozina, you've got a great voice, and you clearly have a wide range. But unless you've got an american flag wrapped around you the next time you climax, save the orgasmic groaning for some sappy love song, not the MACC Fund Basketball Game National Anthem. This is a family event.

Well, after a revolting loss against Dallas the other night, the Bucks come out, and even without two starters, prove to us they've got some kind of bench, epsecially for such a young bunch. Hey, where did they find that young Turk, Ersan Ilyasova? Lots of piss and vinegar in that guy -- very Bogut Junior.. He can shoot, and he is Mr. Hustle on defense. So much so that the people sitting by us were calling for him to sit down, this is preseason, don't wreck yourself! But no, he's 18, he's been shipped in from the from the other side of the world, and he plays as if to say "I'll kick it! I'll hustle, just please don't ship my ass back to Turkey!" David Noel, a second round pickup from last spring looked good, hustle wise, though no major stats to report. I was out getting a load of BBQ Pork Nachos (don't knock 'em till you've tried them) while there were a pair of back to back three pointers during the second quarter that spurred the team to to a handy victory. Dan Gadzuric is looking good player-wise, but somebody needs to get him a better haircut. Its like they cut the front, and then said, "No, curly kinky hair generally doesn't bode well for mullets, but I'm going to stop here while I brainstorm what I'm going to do with you." But player wise, its looking really good with this bench. I take starters like Michael Redd for granted. Redd needs to watch out and not take himself for granted, too. Terry "The White Shadow" Stotts doesn't. We left before game end, which we knew would be somewhere around the comfortable victory the final 119-108 score turned out to be, to head on down to Club Lulu to catch the Cocksmiths and have a tasty grilled tuna sandwhich, accompanied by Lulu's homemade potato chips.

Singer with flash
Last time we saw this band, they were treating us at Locust Street day not to "You Shook Me All Night Long" but "Whole Lotta Rosie" and with a name like the Cocksmiths, we knew they couldn't take themselves completely seriously. Yes, they remind me of early AC/DC. Good AC/DC. Very fun, guilt-free glam party metal played by guys who look like they belong more in Soundgarden rather than a band that sounds like a bunch of Aerosmith and Black Crowes fans who listen to a LOT of Bowie, with top-notch gear (Gibson Flying V's, gold tops) and the chops to match. Great catchy, cock-strutting-the-barnyard-not-worrying-if-the-chicks-notice-because-that's-a-given with a self-refential sense of humor. But the musicianship and songwriting is dead serious. Babysitting curfew prevented an entire view of the show, but we'll definitely be back. They can play, they can write songs, they have enduring stage presence. Best of all, the critics are gonna have a heckuva a time with them, because in theory they're supposed to hate them. But they will love them, and hate to admit it. I love bands like this.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

In honor of Thursday's Predicted Snow, some random ramblings

  • I just placed my order for Moo cards yesterday. I can not wait. I'm running low on my boring, black font on white cardstock business cards anyway, but that's not the sensible excuse I could get away with for doing this. No, for once, Malcolm, something's just hitting the Tipping Point and I'm in on it! This is a huge trendy thing that's going to be satarized by being referenced just-briefly-enough-on-the-Simpsons-to-prove-they-still-have-the-edge-on-pop-culture-but-know-not-to-club-you-over-the-head-with-it. And for once, I'm in on it before the saturation point! It's not that I don't want to be a ridiculous slave to bleeding edge trends. Its just that I'm too busy to keep an eye and be on this stuff before it turns cliché. (No really, I didn't get a myspace page until like a month or so ago --and I still don't get myspace, I only started a blog less than a year ago, and I still don't have any kind of a team bicycling jersey to wear out on my weekend rides. I am waaaayyyy behind being trendy.) But these moo cards -- wow, I'll have them for the fifteen minutes I need to have them before I get made fun of for having them. Oh, and I get to be one of those people who sniff at people in four months and go "Oh, that? I'm on my fourth box…" Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!! I'm in, Esme Squalor, I'm "in."

  • My boss has been celebrating halloween by giving everybody on our team little candies every day. Today's offering is Dark Chocolate M&Ms. What a concept: M&Ms for grownups. And there are green ones in there, but not too many. This is a workplace, you know.

  • At Brian's suggestion, I drove into work this morning and took the newly opened Plankinton Avenue exit from I-43 northbound. If you are not a Milwaukeean from the South Side (or thereabouts) who works or otherwise has business to conduct downtown, skip this paragraph, because you will probably never take this exit in your life and you don't care. But if you are one of the thousands who have accepted that this whole Marquette Interchange Project is going to take as long as its going to take for the Packers to ever get in the playoffs again, this is a huge deal. Timewise, its still not worth taking the freeway in, even at 6:15 am when I drive into work. The traffic backups still begin just after the National Avenue exit, because the left lane that used to go to I-94Westbound is still closed off, shoving three lanes of traffic into two. But the Plankinton exit is there, and it’s a beauty! Two lanes wide, that lovely feeling of driving on freshly constructed pavement (especially since just I got a s-load of suspension work and new tires a couple of months ago!), ridges dug into the curvy part just in case you're side-by-side with somebody who NEEDS a s-load of suspension work and new tires, and since nobody realizes its open yet, a creepy (but in a good way) solitaryness about the whole thing. I know, I've got some kind of life getting all excited about a freeway ramp, but still. Nice job.

  • It's supposed to snow Thursday. Freaking snow. I'm not ready for this, literally. I need to drop about 5 more pounds before the wonderful Helly Hensen snow pants I got at Sierra Trading Post last year for only $30 (they normally retail for ~ $150) will fit me and I can look all cool and fabulous wiping out at St. Mary's Hill like I was Lindsay Jacobellis in my euro-styled but marvelously functional snow sport togs. Boo-hoo.

** By the way, this is how behind the hip times I am: I only read Gladwell's The Tipping Point last year, four years after I heard Gladwell speak at a writers' conference in the wake of him becoming a media star over it. I didn't even read andy of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books until the movie came out and I wanted to prove to Stella that you should ALWAYS read the book before going to see the movie. Ah, Stella has the day off this Friday -- we'll make a pilgrimage to Schwartz's Bookshop to get the newest (and last) in the Series. Right, like it's all going to get wrapped up neatly in one little book.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Riverwest Art Walk -- where to go?

Bowling ball among the flowers
Every year Riverwest lucks out, and gets a spectacularly beautiful weekend for Artwalk. As I introed on the Flickr group I made for it, before there was Gallery Night, before there was the Bay View Arts expo, there was the Riverwest Art Walk.

As usual, there's great stuff buried in Riverwest. But we're art dummies; we're not as tied into the scene, so we didn't know where to go. The interesting stuff we happened upon really went just like that -- we happened upon it. We'd looked all over the newspapers (the Journal, the Shepherd, etc) for somebody, clued into the scene, to tell us where to go, and came up short. What, are we supposed to go and discover for ourselves? We want our art spoon-fed to us!

Besdies, with two kids in tow, we knew we wouldn't be able to do it all. So we stopped in to get our tickets at the Art Bar, where the've still got that peace art project exhibit up. I re-acquainted myself with an Ask Me Why I'm Voting No button, and hit the street. First stop, La Escuela Fratney, still smelling of fresh paint and varnish fro their recent remodel. Then, an annual visit to Catherine Cowling's garden. I'm going to have to hire her to consult. That woman knows how to make the most of a Milwaukee postage stamp of a yard. And Milwaukee her garden is: I'm know I'm not the first (and I won't be the last) to wax poetic on the bowling balls, but she's done the obvious, and declared that if you're going to have a Milwaukee garden, its really not complete without bowling balls. I also like that she's on the artwalk: really good gardening is art.

We stopped in at Insurgent Theatre, while there wasn't exactly any theatre going on. Instead a band (which a buddy over at Flickr clued me into realizing was made up of fragments of the Danglers, a band I need to get out and see again) was jamming, while we snacked on some vegetarian chili. We must've been there while the actors were taking a break, because the same guys we saw chilling out in the yard were the same two who showed up at the former Jazz Gallery building about a half hour later. They walked in and announced that for a dollar, they would perform. Actually, it was more like the one actor, leashed and standing on a milk crate like an organ grinder's monkey, who would perform anything. Being the cheapskates that we are, I asked for a free sample and was treated to some shakespearian method acting thang before the "master" yanked the performer off the crate and shooed themselves away.

More my kids in the project

I didn't have a chance to pay them; I was too busy making sure Sammy stayed in the lines for a group mural being organized at the same place, by an artist named Kitty. I didn't get Kitty's last name, but everybody who came in was invited to fill in a tile of paint-by-numbers colors, and Kitty was more than patient with Sammy while I snapped away at pictures. The final install will be at the Art Bar, and just this morning I saw a black and white shot of it being assembled. I'll go visit with the kids sometime this week, during a time like an art show when its appropriate to bring kids into a bar that isn't a neighborhood tap.

Ah, I miss a lot of things about Riverwest -- the activism, for one. Bomb posters all over the place, and a defiant blue shirt painted on a creamy yellow building reminded us we were in the art neighborhood populated by artists who aren't worrying about corporate opposition to their message. The prices on some of the art reflected that as well. Mark Lawson was curating an exhibit in a lower flat on Center street, that included some nice multiple exposure work by a young photographer which was, for its quality, extremely underpriced: $200 for a large piece that must've cost the artist that much in materials alone. Yeah, you're not necessarily making your art for the money now, but after a while, you're going to get sick of ramen noodles for dinner. And that seems to tie in to my original lament. I'm an outsider now. I didn't know where to go, and I wasn't nudged one way or the other by the media, the Riverwest Artist Association itself, or any of the artists. I'm wondering if they're either too cool to do better self-promotion or they simply don't know how. My list of artists provided by my family admission fee featured simply their names, addresses, and what their medium was. No little paragraphs enticing me to choose one over the other. On one hand, I know it’s a egalatarian group effort; on the other, I need to know a little more than simply "printmaking" to be able to tell if its something I'm interested in seeing. But I'm going to blame this fumble on the media, rather than the RAA. It wasn't the job of the RAA to separate the wheat from the chaff for me. C'mon Milwaukee media -- Gallery Night isn't the only art event that ever happens. You let the ball slip right through your hands just like Favre and Colledge did during yesterday's typical Packer game.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Customer Service Rant

A Three Year Old Could Do This
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
OK, we've been living in this house for some 10 years, and we just got the siding done a year ago, and ever since then, its like our Journal-Sentinel delivery guy can't seem to find the bright green Journal-Sentinel drop box that's been in the exact same spot for the past ten years. For the past few months, its clear he isn't really trying. So he's been tossing the paper on the porch. Sometimes it can't even make it to the porch, so on a rainy crummy day I've got to brave it and grab it down the steps (in my morning attire, read: underwear). I know this sounds like whining, and maybe it is, but its the latest example of declining customer service and I'm tired of it. So, [rant on] here we go.

Earlier this week, my husband calls "Customer Service" (quotes intended for ironic effect, picture me holding up my curled index and middle finger up and wiggling them) and after listening to modern muzak for a half hour, reports that we didn't get our paper at all on Monday. "Oh, and by the way," he adds, "For the past few months, the carrier hasn't been putting the paper in the Journal-Sentinel drop box. He's just tossing it on the porch." The "Customer Service" representative said she'd note that in the delivery file, and a paper would be delivered by such and such a time. Eventually we got it.

So this morning, Brian calls me at work to report on something else, but in afterthought, before I went to some typical work meeting, he asks, "By the way, is the paper getting put in the box?" No, its still getting tossed on the porch. (I get up way earlier than him).

He calls "Customer Service" and they pretty much read a script to him: they're not ALLOWED to do anything but toss the paper on the porch. Some board of directors voted recently to stop the practice of actually serving the customer by putting the paper where the customer actually wants it. No between the doors, no inside a patio, not even in a Journal-Sentinel supplied drop box. Something about liability and such. Right. I keep a box, (that BTW, clashes with my color scheme) obviously supplied by the Journal-Sentinel on my porch so I can sue somebody for putting a newspaper in it.

Are we asking for so much here? This isn't difficult. I just proved it tonight by asking our three year old to perform this seemingly difficult task. "Hey buddy, go put this newspaper in that green box." "OK mommy."
As you can see, the above picture proves that a three year old could navigate his way around getting a newspaper into a newspaper box with little to no difficulty. Plus he wasn't loaded with excuses. It was a simple, "OK mommy." (He's consistent with "please" and "thank you," too.)

Look, Journal-Sentinel. You're offering great deals for home delivery. Clearly you need to get those numbers up. It would be just as easy for us to just dash into 7-Eleven on the way to work or (horrors) skip a day or two and maybe only pick up the paper on Sundays while we're at the donut shop. But that way, you don't get to report guaranteed circulation by zip code to your advertisers. You don't get to say "We have x of homeowners in zip code 55555 who read this paper every day." So we know that being subscribers is important to you. Its not like I can't click on line to get the top stories, but then you don't have my demographics, do you? All you're asking from us is that for a small fee, you deliver the paper to our door so that you've got your demographics, and return, we reap the convenience of having a newspaper at our door, not on our porch, not out in the front yard, not on the sidewalk dry, and in an easy to reach place. All we're asking from you is that you put it in the box that you supplied us with. We didn't put this box up on the roof or anything. We put it right under the mailbox. The Mailman isn't having a problem with this location.

We think our carrier is pissed at us ever since that one wintry day when it snowed at 3 in the morning, and I didn't wake up at 4 am to shovel the sidewalk so that he wouln't have to have snow touch his boots in order to get the paper in the green box. He wrote us a rather nasty note about this (about a week before reminding us it was time for his Christmas tip) and now he has his revenge. But when Brian asked "Customer Service" again why we couldn't have this, the "Customer Service" person rattled off some scripted reply about how its no longer policy to respond to customer requests. OK, that's not exactly what she said verbatim, (I wasn't on the call!) but some board voted and they don't want to face the liability for damage to property. So instead, we get to risk our new siding being dented or our windows getting broken by a flying newspaper.

OK, [/rant off].

Journal Sentinel Drop  Box, uncontaminated by the Journal-Sentinel
In the meantime, dear readers, since apparently our Journal-Sentinel drop box can no longer be used to drop the Journal-Sentinel in it, any ideas? Send 'em in. Flower pots? Stick holders? Junk Mail Overflow reservoirs? Used Charcoal at Packer Game Tailgate Party Dumpsters? Spittoons? Here's a picture of the Journal-Sentinel dropbox, thoroughly uncontaminated by the Journal Sentinel, so that you have a blank slate to work with. Get those creative juices flowing people.