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Don't drink and drive.  Ever.
Don't drink and drive. Ever.

A hard, local lesson that should make us all think

"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com – brought to you by Stoli Vodka, Altos Tequila, Fireball, OR-G, Jim Beam, Plymouth Gin and 2 Gingers – is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews, the results of our Best of Bars poll and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

Of all the local stories that come across our news feeds, one titled "Hard lesson for otherwise law-abiding man who drove drunk," really made me think. 

Nutshell. Out for a few beers. Boom. Killed a young woman, and the driver's off to jail.  Maurice Lard, 48 was, "a regular hardworking, churchgoing, married Milwaukee man. In June, he drove after leaving two bars and he ran into another car, killing 19-year-old Julian Hicks."

Many of us have done it. Drink, drive. No problem. Wisconsin seems to practically condone it with its mild rules and slap on the wrists for first time offenders. Wisconsin, if you didn't know, is the only state in the union that does not criminalize a first OWI offense.  Drinking and driving is wrong.  It's sad.  It's incredibly dangerous.  And, we shouldn't even have to mention that it's also against the law. 

My general rule of thumb is no more than two drinks on a night out when I'm driving. Maybe 10 years ago, I'd break this rule often but now, never.

I really don't drink that much anymore even though I love beer, and do enjoy sampling all the new brands and flavors.  But, the risks and even some of the hang overs just aren't worth it and stories like Maurice's scare me.  Sadly, as an alcohol counselor told Jim Stingl, the journalist who did the story about Maurice Lard, many aren't scared by such stories. 

I'm not perfect, and probably like you I've driven when I shouldn't have. But, today there's just no excuse to do so. So, don't. 

My dear Milwaukeeans (and others), as Bar Month at OnMilwaukee.com enters its final week let's cheer …

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I've been seeing more Bucks apparel out and about lately.
I've been seeing more Bucks apparel out and about lately.

Bucks hats are green and growing

The future of the NBA is f@cking COLD. 

That's a direct quote from this story on Grantland by Andrew Sharp. Cold doesn't bother us, though. We wear hats. And, these days, Bucks hats seem to be everywhere,

Sure, the team did a promotional giveaway recently but I can't help but notice an increase in Bucks gear on the streets. 

I've always lamented the fact that it's nearly impossible to find Bucks stuff at area stores and places like Sports Authority don't even seem to not know we have an NBA team in Wisconsin. Plus, it's rather hard to buy things at the BC, especially on non-game days.

Compare the retail at Miller Park and Lambeau Field to that of the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Enough said. This will, of course, change as part of a new arena complex.  And, the Bucks new merchandising department and marketing initiatives are helping too. 

I also noted this Bucks hat uptick on my Ash Wednesday walk to church today. As I just tweeted...

I was bundled up and sporting my reversible adidas Bucks hat as I passed a Milwaukee police officer. I nodded and said, "hello officer." He nodded back, pumped his fist and said, "Go Bucks!" Loved it! 

I know that the cold brings out more hats in general and I might have a bit of the red car syndrome going on here. You know that feeling when you buy a red car and suddenly all you see are red cars. That might be happening, to an extent, with Bucks hats as I own several. 

Regardless, there does seem to be a new gear to Bucks gear these days.  Personally, I think it's good for the community and the second half of the NBA season that begins tomorrow with a free afternoon practice at Marquette's Al McGuire Center. 

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Is this the MSO's "Mozart in the Jungle" moment?
Is this the MSO's "Mozart in the Jungle" moment? (Photo: MSO)
Great show, big fun.
Great show, big fun. (Photo: MSO)

Does deWaart's departure create a "Mozart in the Jungle" moment?

One of the best, most entertaining shows today is Amazon Prime's "Mozart in the Jungle." 

It's about a fictitious New York Symphony that's just replaced its old school conductor with a new, younger, charismatic and (to some in the symphony family) "crazy" conductor named Rodrigo.  It's a look behind the scenes and into the arts and entertainment world.

A world that many don't know, don't care about but too often cast away and criticize.  I'm no classical music buff, but I've worked with arts groups long enough and served on arts boards to know that like anything there's a beautiful amount of ego, creativity, legacy, money and rules that guide and dictate the moves and sounds of the performances, marketing and management. It can be, as they say, great theater. 

So, "Mozart in the Jungle" is the exact reason why today's news from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra announcing that music director Edo de Waart will step down is so very interesting.  The MSO will begin the process to hire a new conductor while de Waart will become its conductor laureate in September 2017.

Wow, this could be life imitating TV (streaming video) art.  Is it Rodrigo time, Milwaukee!?

Nothing against Maestro de Waart who has led the orchestra since the 2009-10 season and has raised the artistic profile of the MSO with his leadership.  Yet, this change atop the MSO is so similar to the first episode of "Mozart in the Jungle" that I had to mention it. 

I've suggested to a MSO board member that the symphony screen "Mozart in the Jungle" to its subscribers and the community.  Embrace it, use it and have fun with this show that's having fun at the expense of the symphonies of today. 

de Waart will continue to appear annually with the MSO from the 2017.18 season onward, but a new conductor and ideas could be a way to breathe revitalized life into the symphony.

Don't get me wrong, I love the MSO and de Waart seems like a cool guy. But, symphonies need to evolve, innovate and change wi…

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Milwaukee's Safe House is fun for all ages, and it's one of "25 Bars That Are So Cool You'll Want To Experience."
Milwaukee's Safe House is fun for all ages, and it's one of "25 Bars That Are So Cool You'll Want To Experience."

Insanely cool bars list includes a Milwaukee favorite

"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com – brought to you by Stoli Vodka, Altos Tequila, Fireball, OR-G, Jim Beam, Plymouth Gin and 2 Gingers – is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews, the results of our Best of Bars poll and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

This latest list from 9Thing.net features some stunning photography, super cool drinking spots and one Milwaukee destination that seemingly finds itself on these types of lists every month. 

"25 Bars That Are So Cool You’ll Want To Experience," is a showcase of international destinations that "promise you an amazing night out."  And, of course, Milwaukee's Safe House, always provides that pleasure.  It doesn't, though, have the amazing views of some on the list like Northern Lights Bar in Iceland, China's Tiger Leaping Gorge or the amazing Sky Bar in Bangkok.

Check out the full list here.  And, cheers to Safe House for its inclusion. It's indeed in amazing company and one of only three U.S. destinations on the list.