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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

Tue
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Good to the last drop: McDonald's coffee cup.
Good to the last drop: McDonald's coffee cup.

Kudos to McDonald's coffee cup

I love me some coffee. I like gas station coffee. I like coffee from doughnut shops. I like coffee from the fancy places of the world like Starbucks and Stone Creek and Alterra.

But I have never had a cup of coffee like the one I get at McDonald's.

I'm not talking about the coffee inside. I'm talking about the cup itself. It's about the most amazing thing I've ever used.

It's firm and stands up for days. It keeps the coffee hot. It's cool to the touch without having to use one of those scarves you have to wrap around other coffees.

I sometimes will let a half-filled cup sit overnight and then zap it in the morning. The McDonald's cup stands up perfectly to that beating.

I did some work for McDonald's at one time and I was astounded at the level of detail of their research and development. There was nothing too small to go over again, and again, and again.

Well that sure paid off with this cup. I wish every single coffee place would use the same type of cup.

"Moneyball" is right on the money.
"Moneyball" is right on the money.

"Moneyball" is worth a view

When the Academy Awards roll around I try to see as many of the movies in contention as I can. "Moneyball" was on my list last weekend and it turned out to be a lot better than I ever thought it would be.

I lived through the 2002 baseball season and remember the Oakland A's. I know the story of Billy Beane and I know about Sabermetrics. It's an OK story but I wondered if it could carry an entire movie.

Well, it turns out "Moneyball" is less about baseball and a lot more about commitment and belief. It's about fighting the "this is how we've always done it" attitude that has an impact on everything from education to politics to social interactions.

I thought Brad Pitt was pretty good, although I wonder about his nomination for Best Actor. He's cute as all get out, as always, but I've always been concerned about his depth as an actor. I think he's so good looking that he has an impact just by showing up on the screen, and he knows it.

But Jonah Hill delivers a wonder as Pitt's muse. Maybe I've got a thing for fat Jewish guys with glasses and a strong core of belief, but Hill provides both drama and humor and a base for Pitt to run to when he seems like he's about to get lost.

There is another minor character worth seeing. An actor named Stephen Bishop, who played minor league baseball, plays veteran outfielder David Justice and his portrayal is about as accurate a depiction of a professional athlete as I've ever seen.

One more thing that's important. Sports movies normally have a tough time making the action on the field look realistic. Not here. With a mix of actual footage from that season and staging that seems just as real, "Moneyball" is a movie fit for baseball fans and everyone else.

The spectacular Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Greek church.
The spectacular Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Greek church.

Finally, a festival

One of the problems with Milwaukee in the winter is that it isn't summer and all those festivals aren't around every weekend.

Not this coming weekend, however.

"A Taste of Greece" will take place at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church Saturday and Sunday.

Let me start with the church. I don't know if you've ever seen it but it's an absolutely magnificent structure. I'm not that big on churches, but this work of Frank Lloyd Wright is a lasting testament this spectacular talent. Look at the church and you will see the brotherly ties with the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Wright was entranced by circular form in his last years, and both buildings are examples of that.

Tours of the church will be available at the event this weekend and if you've never seen it, this is an opportunity too good to pass up. The place is breathtaking.

Now, let's talk about food. After all, this is called A Taste of Greece.

I love all kinds of food, but Greek food is right near the top of my list. Lamb, lamb and more lamb. Plus saganaki, Greek chicken, gyros, pastichio, Greek salad and those fantastic Greek pastries.

Maybe I can also get an answer to a question I've long asked: "Is a gyros sandwich really a Greek dish?" I tend to think it's a lot like pizza and Italy. Of course, I could be wrong about this whole thing.

If you go to this thing, you can even see the Hellenic Dancers. I don't know about you, but it doesn't make any difference to me whether it's the Krakow Dancers or the Irish Dancers or the Philippine Dancers, those ethnic dance troops play to a very select audience. But if it's your thing, they will be there. The only one I like is the Ko-Thi dancers.

But I'd say even without an answer to my question, A Taste of Greece promises to be a welcome break from our sudden season of winter.

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Beside sports specials and holiday specials, you'd be hard pressed to find any local programs on the four major TV stations in MIlwaukee.
Beside sports specials and holiday specials, you'd be hard pressed to find any local programs on the four major TV stations in MIlwaukee.

Politics on the news? What a concept

Tonight on television there will be an event that is about as rare as anyone who actually knows the name of or as actually seen the Attorney General in Wisconsin.

Channel 12 will devote an hour of prime time to the subject of politics. That's right. Politics. One Hour. Prime Time.

Local stations almost never do any local programming other than news. Either they don't have the capability or the will or the interest. Maybe they don't want to give up the money they make in prime time. Maybe they don't have any confidence in their abilities.

Beside sports specials and holiday specials, you'd be hard pressed to find any local programs on the four major TV stations in Milwaukee.

That's why the special tonight is such a surprising and ambitious undertaking.

However, it should come as no surprise that Channel 12 is the station taking on Wisconsin politics as a subject. They are the only station in town that could do this with any credibility.

With Kathy Mykleby, Mike Gousha, Joyce Garbaciak and Kent Wainscott, the station has people who have history and understand the way things work in this state and city. They have contacts and they can clear up many of the mysteries of politics in Wisconsin.

Channel 58 and Channel 6 could try this, but they really don't have people who anyone actually knows, with the possible exception of an anchor or two and a sports person or two.

Channel 4, the big dog of local news, couldn't do this for a variety of reasons. They've got two of the best anchors in the business in Mike Jacobs and Carol Meekins and one good reporter in Charles Benson. But most of the others are faces and names nobody knows and who are just stopping by on their way to somewhere else.

In addition, Channel 4 has decided they are "on my side" and they can't be if they want to take a critical look at politics. If you watch the station, every single report now ends with the reporter saying "On Your Side, I'm (fill in the blank with a name). I c…

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