Friday, May 29, 2009

ALRC is Obsessed with Downtown

When I saw this headline -- Teen Faces Charges For Allegedly Swinging Bat In Madison Bar -- I had two questions:
1. What was a teen doing in a bar?
2. In what Madison bar was someone tempted to swing a bat?

The answers:
1. Fake ID.
2. Wiggie's.

I should have guessed. It's interesting that this should happen in the same week that Madison's Alcohol Licensing Review Committee threatened three other local establishments with license non-renewal for multiple incidents of fights and serving underage patrons (all of whom were probably older than the bat-wielding 17-year-old girl at Wiggie's).

I wonder if Wiggie's will be threatened with non-renewal. I mean, surely the ALRC wouldn't hold Dave Wiganowski to a different standard because he's a County Supervisor. Maybe he gets a pass because he's not within walking distance of the UW campus.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Real Men of Genius Awards

It's only a matter of time before Bud Light's Real Men of Genius commercial campaign includes a salute to "Mr. Petty-Crime-Documenting YouTube Star."

There are a number of potential muses right here in Wisconsin. The most recent, three teenagers who maxed-out their speedometer at 155 mph outside Verona, will need to wait a few years, since the perpetrators are too young to drink.

My personal favorite is the father-and-son team from Waukesha who stole a taser from the police officer who rescued them from a ditch, then posted a video of the two of them firing the taser at each other. I'll bet they're fans of Reno 911.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nothing Draws Kids to the Liquor Store Like a Clydesdale in the Parking Lot

I stopped at Woodman's after work today to stock up for the holiday weekend. I noticed a Clydesdale standing nonchalantly just outside the liquor store entrance. Yes, a horse can be nonchalant. This one looked so mellow, he might have been sedated (no head-tossing or hoof-stomping, despite being repeatedly poked by squealing children). I knew it must be a Budweiser promotion, even though there were no visible signs, and the horse wore no logoed tack.

Sure enough, as I approached the entrance, I saw a man standing just in front of the horse, fielding questions from the crowd, wearing a polo shirt with a discreet embroidered Budweiser logo. I was tempted to ask him if they've sold much of that Budweiser + Clamato crap. However, he was surrounded by parents with children, so I decided against it.

Once inside, I noticed the line of carts in both check-out lines. I saw cases of Coors and Miller products, but no Budweiser. I guess the Clydesdale can't close the deal. Oh, well -- I suppose if the animal mascot manages to inspire brand loyalty in the next generation of beer drinkers, it will be worth the cost of fuel for the horse trailer.

In the store's beer cooler, I saw a fairly visible section devoted to Budweiser + Lime. I searched the vicinity and saw a token six-pack of Budweiser + Clamato on the top shelf. I did not buy it.

While paying for my weekend supply of Bailey's miniatures and fruity beer substitutes, I couldn't resist asking the cashier if he had seen any customers buy that Budweiser + Clamato product. As an added bonus, he was a twenty-something Hispanic man, the product's target demographic. I hoped he might share some first-hand experience.

He did not disappoint me. "My brother brought some over one night," he sheepishly admitted, "and we tried it. It was absolutely disgusting."

He did not say if any customers had bought it. I'm betting no one bought it twice.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lessons Learned from the New Star Trek Movie

1. Centaurian slugs are far more effective than waterboarding for collecting actionable intelligence.

2. The Beastie Boys' Sabotage and Chevrolet's Corvette are both timeless classics.

3. In the 23rd century, bright and attractive female college students will still bonk their instructors.

4. Small, cute aliens are much more tolerable when they're mute.

5. Samuel L. Jackson must not be a Star Trek fan.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Creative Ways to Help Balance the State Budget

1. Force the Lieutenant Governor and the Secretary of State to take a year-long unpaid furlough. It's not like they do anything necessary to the operations of state government. It would take a constitutional amendment to abolish the offices, and there is no time for that. However, since it's legal to force state employees to take unpaid furloughs, this would be a great place to start.

2. Sell ad space on state vehicles. This is an important revenue stream for Madison Metro. Why can't the state also take advantage of bus-wrap technology to bring in some cash to help maintain the fleet? There could be tiered rates depending on the nature of the vehicle and how often it leaves its garage.

3. Sell ad space on Governor Doyle's head. If Danny Bonaduce could get a sponsor to pay him to tattoo their logo on his back prior to his televised boxing match against Todd Bridges, I imagine someone would be willing to pay to have a temporary tattoo of their message on Doyle's bald dome during a press conference. It would have to be in good taste, of course, and not contrary to state policies. Perhaps promoting the Tommy Bartlett show (now with water), for instance.

4. Follow California's lead by legalising and taxing medical marijuana. Now that the feds have a hands-off policy on medical marijuana dispensaries that comply with state regulations, are we going to pass on this potential revenue stream? So what if we attract drug tourists? Aren't we trying to grow the state's tourism industry?

5. Surpass Nevada's lead by not only decriminalising, but also regulating and taxing prostitution. Not only could this be a lucrative revenue stream, but it would have the added benefit of largely shifting the industry from residential areas to the outskirts of towns (where most strip clubs currently operate) and from drug-addicted minors to autonomous adults with access to health care and legal recourse against abusive pimps. And sex tourism is still tourism. Maybe some enterprising businesswoman will buy the bankrupt Three Bears Lodge along I-94 in Warrens and turn it into a brothel with a Klondike gold rush theme (Miss Tilly's Good Times Saloon -- Yes, we can-can).

Now, we'd better hurry, before Minnesota beats us to it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Problem with Christian Rock

I spent some time at work on Friday channeling Nick Burns ("Your Company's Computer Guy" as played by Jimmy Fallon several years ago on SNL). Managers can never be bothered to back things up or archive old emails, until the server shuts down their inbox. Anyway, after trying to coach the user through doing it herself, I finally had to say "move" and sit in her chair for twenty minutes while moving various subfolders into the archives.

It was mildly annoying, but the worst part of it was having to listen to the "Christian rock" radio station she plays in her office. Now, I have nothing against rock music with a Christian message. I enjoy "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum and "Jesus Is Just Alright with Me" by the Doobie Brothers, for example. The problem with "Christian rock" isn't the "Christian" part; it's the "rock." Most of it sucks. The only reason people listen to those stations is for the message, not for the music. They are not winning any converts, because they are only preaching to the choir.

Now, if someone started a Christian station that only played good music, they might actually win some converts.