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The McRib: Naturally supersized since 1981.
The McRib: Naturally supersized since 1981.

The McRib: cultish and delicious or just plain weird?

I have eaten very little meat since August’s cheeseburger eating challenge, but I just might hork down a McRib sandwich this week. Not because the pressed meat patty that's made to look like it contains bones sounds particularly appealing, but because McDonald’s McRib is cropping up repeatedly in my daily life. It’s getting creepy.

It started with the billboards. I normally don’t consciously pay attention to McDonald’s marketing, but for some reason, the McRib campaign this time around really captures my attention. I thought I  filtered out the tragically stale word "awesome" when used in all forms of written and verbal communication, but for some reason, when positioned in a McRib tagline, the word leaps out at me and practically tackles me to the ground and force feeds me the faintly tangy pork (ish) patty.

Then, my new coworker, Bob Purvis, writes his blog biography and --lo and behold -- he lists the McRib as one of his interests. So I ask him about it, and it turns out, he has a somewhat complicated relationship with the rib-resembling McHoagie. It’s not that he really craves the sandwich, but friends keep showing up with bags of ‘em to suck down during football games. It’s irony slathered in onions. I get this.

Then, I discussed the McRib with Kramp and Adler on our Thursday morning "Heat Index" segment. Through this riveting banter, I learn that Adler dated the girl whose dad invented the machine that forms the patty into the fake rib shape. (Why oh why are the "ribs" only on one side of the patty?)

Finally, my possessed fingers start Googling the McRib and I learn there is a Cult of McRibbies out there. One fan-wich invented a McRib locater. Another guy went on a McRib tour, and drove from New York City to St. Louis, devouring a pork (ish) patty at every Mickey D’s along the way.

Through my fake rib research, I really got the skinny on this 26-fat-grammed sammy. The McRib was introduced in 1981 as a permanent menu item. In 1985, due to dicey s…

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Midlife Isis: Is divorce contagious?

About a decade ago, it seemed like everyone I knew was getting married. One summer, I attended eight weddings. Then, a few years later, it was baby showers. I went to dozens every calendar year. And now, the divorce phase seems to be crashing on shore, with lots of couples I know going under after seven, 10, even 13 years of marriage.

Is there a ripple effect when it comes to life’s phases? Are these milestones contagious?

Starting with the weddings, it seems that once a couple or two get engaged, the idea sparks in lots of peoples' heads. Some couples are a great match and truly in love, but for others, the love is more of a fondness, dependence, lust or response to a pressure that "everybody’s doing it" so it must be time to settle down.

Later, these are the couples that will do one of three things: stay together unhappily, stay together and busy themselves in kids and / or activities, or move on in seek of more.

The latter is difficult to do. It’s much easier for some friends and family members to understand -- and not judge -- divorce when someone’s, say, being abused. However, it’s more difficult for some people to wrap their minds around a separation that resulted from boredom, lack of passion, lost communication or the realization that one wasn’t really in love with their spouse / the idea of getting married but did it anyway.

And like marriage, when one couple finally admits they're done, they usually pave the way for at least one or two more couples to step forward and do the same.

It's arguable that 'these days," some people are more in touch with their emotions -- through mainstream acceptance of therapy and New Age-ish books and films that get people thinking -- and therefore they are not as willing to fake it or live inside marriage myths that perpetuate the lie that there is always a honeymoon phase that fizzles out or that married people don’t have as much sex.

There are more people out there sharing their honest thoughts and sayi…

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Joel Harris mixes up a mean island-inspired cocktail.
Joel Harris mixes up a mean island-inspired cocktail. (Photo: Linda Baehring)

Paint The Town Red: Joel Harris' "Kentucky Ninja"

OnMilwaukee.com and Maker's Mark® have partnered for a special promotion all October called "Paint The Town Red." We selected 10 of Milwaukee's best mixologists, asked them to share their trademark bourbon recipes, and now, we're giving you a chance to vote for -- and win $50 from -- one of their respective bars. Our jobs during this month were fun, too: we sampled each of the cocktails and are happy to tell you all about them.

To enter to win, just click here and vote for your favorite recipe. And make sure to visit these 10 bars and try these most unique of Maker's Mark cocktails, too. You'll be glad you did!

Kentucky Ninja

Muddle these items and fill with ice:
2 Orange Slices
5 Mint Leaves
1/2 Measure Simple Syrup

Then add:
2 parts Maker's Mark® Bourbon
1/2 part Canton® Ginger Liqueur
1 egg white

Shake vigorously and strain into new glass with fresh ice.  Fill with Brut Champagne.

Maybe it's because my father is from Kentucky, or maybe it’s because I have an unquenchable thirst for both ginger ale and champagne, but Joel Harris’ "Kentucky Ninja" is my favorite Maker’s Mark drink in the promotion.

I could get myself in trouble with these.

Harris, who works at Whiskey Bar, 788 N. Jackson St., has a history of bartending on vacation-destination islands and wanted to bring that fun-in-the-sun flavor to his made-in-Milwaukee cocktail. It worked.

The drink is light in color and refreshing, but not too fruity. It's light but rich, thanks to egg white and the liqueur, and slightly frothy. (Too frothy is never good, but a slight froth is delicious.)

The "Kentucky Ninja" is one cocktail I could drink during any season. And at any time of day, from brunch to late night. Yeah, keep these away from me.

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Clint Sterwald wants to shake up your evening. Or afternoon. No one's gonna judge that.
Clint Sterwald wants to shake up your evening. Or afternoon. No one's gonna judge that.

Paint The Town Red: Clint Sterwald's "My Red Right Hand"

OnMilwaukee.com and Maker's Mark® have partnered for a special promotion all October called "Paint The Town Red." We selected 10 of Milwaukee's best mixologists, asked them to share their trademark bourbon recipes, and now, we're giving you a chance to vote for -- and win $50 from -- one of their respective bars. Our job during this month was fun, too: we sampled each of the cocktails and are happy to tell you all about them.

To enter to win, just click here and vote for your favorite recipe. And make sure to visit these 10 bars and try these most unique of Maker's Mark cocktails, too. You'll be glad you did!

My Red Right Hand

2.5 parts Makers Mark® Bourbon
.75 parts Luxardo® Maraschino Cherry Liqueur
.25 part fresh squeezed Orange Juice
Pinch of Cinnamon
Pinch of Nutmeg
Small pinch of Clove
Small piece of fresh Ginger
Black Cherry Juice

Shake all ingredients, with the exception of cherry juice, into a martini glass. Add a swirl of black cherry juice. Enjoy.

"Red Right Hand" is a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song that came out in 1994, and in October of 2010, Clint Sterwald, who pours at Branded at the Iron Horse Hotel, 500 W. Florida St., introduced a cocktail of the same name.

Because of the cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger, Sterwald’s concoction is the spiciest of the lot. This works both for and against the drink. All of the flavors mix together well and are identifiable by the palate, but the strong taste becomes a bit overpowering about halfway through.

It’s also sweet to the taste, which, again, makes this cocktail one that works for the first few sips but eventually becomes quite powerful. However, I could totally see myself drinking this on a special occasion, like Christmas Eve, when I’m open to very rich and / or decadent indulgences.

And one final note: the Cave song is about "the vengeful hand of God," so keep this in mind while drinking these potent potables. Otherwise, that same vengeful hand might shake the sober right outta ya. Not that there's anything…

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