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Want a cocktail with your corn?
Want a cocktail with your corn?

Oriental Theatre now serves alcohol

During the holidays, the Landmark Oriental Theatre, 2230 N. Farwell Ave., expanded its vending area and now features a bar.

The Oriental’s spirit selection includes bottles of local and imported beer, wine by the glass or the bottle and a variety of mixed drinks.

The bar is open during all movies, except during midnight screenings of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" on Saturday nights because most of the crowd is underaged.

Soon, OnMilwaukee.com will run a full story on the Oriental’s new refreshment options, along with a guide to all of the movie theaters in Milwaukee that serve alcohol. Cheers.

What's this really gonna do for me?
What's this really gonna do for me?

Does Wii Fit really work?

My mother-in-law bought my kids a Wii for Christmas, and although I’m not a big video game gal, it turns out I like my cyber bowling. And the tennis is pretty fun. And I might even play a round or two of late-night golf.

So, naturally, like every good junkie, I am looking for ways to enhance the buzz. I thought Wii Fit might be the healthiest choice I could make. I really prefer to exercise in the comfort of my home -- I have a treadmill that I use regularly -- so the Wii fills that need.

But can you really get in shape from using the Wii Fit?

Intuitively I question a video game of any kind doing something positive for me. Obviously, I have not tried the Wii Fit, so if I my intuition is off, enlighten me.

"Tying one on" had new meaning on New Year's Day this year.
"Tying one on" had new meaning on New Year's Day this year.
Neighbors wrote their hopes for 2010 on swatches of cloth ...
Neighbors wrote their hopes for 2010 on swatches of cloth ...
... and tied them to the fence.
... and tied them to the fence.

The wishing wall

Last spring, some friends and I took over a deserted brown space and planted sunflowers to spruce it up. I wrote a blog about it -- perhaps you read it, perhaps not.

I guess we developed a deep-rooted connection to this space during our six months of sunflower rearing, because we returned to the location on New Year’s Day. This time, we created a "wishing wall," based on the concept of Chinese prayer flags.

Via Facebook, e-mail and flyers, we invited friends, family and neighbors to write a wish on a scrap of cloth and tie it to the fence to create public art, to gather as a community and to send positive energy into the world. We drank cocoa and mulled wine. Someone played a wooden flute. We froze our butts off.

But it was completely worth it.

Truth is, 2009 was a tough year for Riverwest. Even some of the heartiest inhabitants were shaken by the non-drug-related murders of two college students. A couple of longtime residents moved, and I don't judge them. But for those of us who continue to stay, 2009 brought a new, scarier reality, but also a recommitment to our neighborhood.

I’m not ready to hang up my hippie just yet, and so I am going to do whatever I can to make Riverwest peaceful. And maybe creating a wishing wall isn’t much, but at the very least, it brought out dozens of neighbors -- mostly with their children -- on an insanely cold day to "tie one on" for the ‘hood. Strangers became acquaintances. Children made wishes they truly believed would come true. (And some kids just wished for trips to water parks or the ability to converse with animals, but that is all good, too.)

I assisted in this endeavor, but my friends Anne and Karen did most of the work for this event. After it was over, Karen summed it up perfectly in an e-mail to me.

"I have no idea what we've started with this fence thing, but I love it," she wrote. "It's satisfying and weird and silly and important."

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Trail, looking so very sweet and innocent. Hard to believe he ate a flip-flop for lunch.
Trail, looking so very sweet and innocent. Hard to believe he ate a flip-flop for lunch.

Got dog training advice? I'm all ears!

Last month, my family adopted a dog from the Wisconsin Humane Society. He’s a mountain cur mix and we named him Trail. He’s 4 months old now and, overall, a joy to have around.

Except, however, when he’s gnawing on one of my shoes or digging holes in the backyard.

We tried spraying bitter apple on items that we don’t want him to chew on, but he doesn’t seem to mind the flavor. As a big fan of Sour Patch Kids candy, I can relate. Also, we try to switch out the household item with one of his chew toys, but he seems much more interested in munching on wooden items. He is losing his baby teeth right now, so I know this will improve, but I'm still looking for an insta-cure for the chewies.

The hole digging is another issue. My husband read on the Internet that one way to stop hole digging is to bury their poop in the area where they like to dig. That sounds really gross, and we have not gone there, but might if we can’t remedy this via another plan. We are opposed to shock collars, but are trying spray bottles and voice commands.

My 7-year-old son and I signed up for a class at the Wisconsin Humane Society that starts in early January. Plus, we’re crate training Trail and doing our best to be consistent and clear with our voice commands.

It has been 14 years since we last trained a puppy, and we are doing our best to catch up on all the modern practices. I must admit that puppy rearing is a huge ordeal -- way more than I remember -- and not that much different from living with a toddler child.

It has been said before, but I must say it again: good thing they’re so damn cute.