OnMilwaukee.com Recommends: Sept. 14, 2013
Want to hear what the OnMilwaukee.com editorial staff loves this week? We've got hand-milled scrapbooking paper, golf, education and rock n' roll on the brain. Read on for the sights, sounds and stores you have to know about.
Stereophonics – Graffiti on the Train (Stylus Records) – There was a time when I couldn't listen to Welsh band Stereophonics enough. And I saw them a lot back then in Chicago and even Europe (long story). But then something happened. Kelly Jones (who boats one of the great rock and roll voices) and company wandered off into heavier territory and I lost the trail. One the band's last record, there was a tune I absolutely loved, so I had high hopes for the new record, "Graffiti on the Train," released here late last month. And I love it. The story songs, the melodies are all back. Sure, there's still some bluster and grit, but, to my ears, balance has been restored. For good measure, this one starts out with a 1-2-3 wallop from "We Share the Same Sun," the title track – which reminds me of moments from Jones' quiet 2006 solo record – and "Indian Summer." Welcome back, old friends. – Bobby Tanzilo
Paper Source – It often ends up that when I write an article or blog, the subject lends itself perfectly to a future OnMilwaukee.com Recommends column. In the Recs column, I can gush in the un-journalistic way that is off-limits in an unbiased piece of reporting. So here's the part where I gush about Paper Source, which opens its first Wisconsin store at Bayshore Town Center on Sept. 20. I think Paper Source is where my spirit animal wants to shop – my scrapbooking, stationery-loving spirit animal. The sample package they sent me contains beautiful, brightly-colored paper with a texture and consistency that could only mean it's hand-milled (which it is.) They would be great for scrapbooking or for creating your own custom-made greeting cards – always a nice touch, especially for thank-you notes and birthday cards. The same goes for their pre-made greeting cards and notes. Their colorscope details will help you find the perfect hue for you. They even do custom printing. – Colleen Jurkiewicz
Dretzka Golf Course, 12020 W. Bradley Rd. – The county breaks down its courses into five categories, beginning with Brown Deer as its lone "Tournament Course" and then gradually working its way down from "Championship" (Dretzka, Oakwood, Whitnall) to "Regulation" (Currie, Grant, Lincoln, Greenfield), "Executive" (Hansen, Warnimont) and "Par 3" (Noyes, Lake Park, Doyne, Madison, Zablocki). That's a lot of golf to choose from, and I haven't been able to get to all of them just yet. Here's a brief rundown of Dretzka.
The greens were in great condition when I played there, which led to some unexpected surprises with subtle breaks and more difficult reads than I expected on some large greens. Like Brown Deer, one could look at the scorecard and see that it is "short," measuring just 6,838 yards from the tips and 6,594 yards from the blue tees. But, like Brown Deer, don't let that fool you into thinking it's a walk in the park. True, Dretzka forgives a bit more wildness off the tee with generous fairways and mown rough, but the greens and their undulation means you have to be dialed in on your approaches to get it close – and even then you may not score.
If you play the blue or black tees, the course can eat you up on the par 3's: The 16th measures at 228 yards; the 4th checks in at 225 and the 7th is 193 yards. The long par 4 may be considered the hardest of holes to par for many average players, but I find these monster par 3's are even more difficult.
The finishing hole, a short par 5, is a little quirky and it forces the average player into making it a three-shot hole. It essentially takes driver out of the player's hands by hitting to a very narrow landing area prior to a creek that splits the fairway. That leads you to a very long, uphill second shot. If you take your medicine, concentrate on two solid shots to start and can be satisfied with a wedge in on your third, it's more than fine and fairly easy. But, there is no risk-reward on this hole.
My favorite hole on the course is the short par 4, 15th. It measures between 374 (white) and 387 (black) yards but it looks much further away, so you may overswing. You don't need driver and can still get a good look at a birdie or par. – Jim Owczarski
"The Smartest Kids in the World" by Amanda Ripley (Simon & Schuster) – If you follow education issues, you've heard all sorts of comparisons and boasts about how great things are in Finland, Korea and Poland. Ripley, who writes for Time, The Atlantic and other publications, decided to see for herself. Following American exchange students in those countries, she gets an inside look at what makes the school systems tick in those high-achieving countries. What she finds is that despite the fact that sometimes even these systems aren't perfect (consider the pressure the Korean system puts on its students) kids – and their parents – take school seriously and that the full weight of the "system" focuses on ensuring the best college students are funneled into teaching and are then compensated well and treated as professionals. There's a lot to chew on in these 300 pages. – Bobby Tanzilo
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