Like every city, rumors fly around this town like spaceships on "The Jetsons," and most of the time, they simply aren’t true.
For years, I’ve heard through the poison grapevine that certain restaurants use dog or cat meat in their food, as well as countless questionable tales of certain sports figures getting wild on Water Street.
But my favorite Milwaukee rumor is that At Random is closed.
I hear this rumor frequently. Recently, an acquaintance insisted that the kitschy lounge shut down for good, and about twice a year, someone e-mails OnMilwaukee.com, inquiring if At Random has finally shattered the Tiki Love Bowl. But in reality, the dapper drinkery is alive and well in beauteous Bay View.
Have you heard -- or started -- other Milwaukee rumors?
I, too, went Downtown today to check out the Fonz festivities. My kids really liked the free custard, and although we couldn’t see much, it was surprisingly moving to hear the "Happy Days" theme song.
Overall, I was impressed by the cast turnout. I wasn’t surprised that Ron Howard didn’t attend, but gave kudos to Penny Marshall for making it to Milwaukee. And of course it was great to see the kind Henry Winkler.
But for the love of Joanie, where was Chachi? Is Scott Baio too busy for Brew City? Is he shooting a "Charles In Charge" reunion show? Maybe reality TV sucks up all of his time (he starred in the VH-1 series called "Scott Baio is 46 … And Single" and "Scott Baio is 46 ... And Pregnant.")
Last weekend, I went camping at the Richard Bong State Recreation Area in Bristol, Wis., which we lovingly refer to as "The Bong."
Prior to our trip, I looked it up on Wikipedia, and was reminded that the park's signage is often stolen. Wikipedia went so far as to say it's in the Top 10 of signs most commonly stolen in the world.
I could not verify this as fact, but I did discover other signs that are commonly swiped by travelers with sticky fingers and a sophomoric sense of humor. And guess what? The snagged signs usually allude to sex or drugs.
Although I did not find proof, I'd imagine Spread Eagle and Climax -- both towns in Wisconsin -- have a fair share of snickering and possibly occasional theft.
Other commonly stolen signs:
Abbey Road / Penny Lane
Beer Road in Orange, Australia
Corona Street in Denver, Colo.
F-cking, Austria (Only 30 minutes away from Petting, Germany!)
Haight Street and / or Ashbury Street in San Francisco
Mary Jane Way in Ashland, Ore.
Ragged Ass Road in Yellowknife, Canada
Shag Point, New Zealand
Southpark Drive in Blacksburg, Virginia
A road sign between the English towns of Ham and Sandwich was changed
from "Ham Sandwich" to "Sandwich Ham" after it was stolen numerous
Any sign with the numbers 69 or 420 (the latter is a marijuana reference.)
Years ago, my grandma told me she used to carry a dime in her bra, just in case she needed to make an emergency call. I remember dropping a quarter into my shoe a few times as kid, just in case I needed to make a call from a pay phone.
Needless to say, now that most people have cell phones, the pay phone is basically a dinosaur with a dial tone. That said, last night I tried to remember when I last used a pay phone and, although I have vague memories of using one at various malls, I really can't remember. So I asked my husband when he last used a pay phone, and he couldn't remember, either.
I do, however, remember the frustration of trying to look up a number in the pay phone phonebook, and the page I needed was torn out. In 1994, I remember using them a lot in England -- you know, the iconic red phone booth -- which was right before the cell phone craze hit the United States.
At the end of 2007, according to my genius friend, Wikipedia, AT&T sold all of its pay phones. Regardless, public telephones remain a vital form of communication for a portion of the population, even though I really don't see many around anymore.
Although now that I wrote this blog, I'll probably see them everywhere.