This week in the editorial office, we're talking about ...
Apple wireless keyboard and Mighty Mouse -- Five months into 2008, I'm trying to live up to one of my New Year's resolutions: keeping a clean desktop. I took a step in that direction by purchasing a couple of Apple's wireless gizmos. The mouse is versatile, sleek and cool and cost $69. The keyboard, which is sleek and cool, cost $49. (A laptop stand was extra). Within a day, the desktop once again was a cluttered mess. But, it wasn't cluttered by hardware cords, so it's a step in the right direction. --Drew Olson
Bags from Vy & Elle -- This company has been making eco-conscious products out of discarded vinyl billboards (the name is a play on the word "vinyl") since 2002. They craft an amazing selection of computer bags, handbags, wallets, totes, athletic bags and storage / travel containers. Not only are the products hip and functional art pieces, but recycling fanatics run the company. One hundred percent of their scrap and waste material is turned into garden hoses or flooring by other manufacturers they work with. In Milwaukee, they are available at Chartreuse Boutique, 2227 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. --Julie Lawrence
"Upfront with Mike Gousha" -- During this hectic political season, it's great to have Mike Gousha's measured, professional approach to counter the biased blather spewing from other outlets. The show airs at 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. on Sunday on Channel 12. If you can't see it then, set the DVR. It's worth it. --D.O.
"For You: Original Stories and Photographs by Bruce Springsteen's Legendary Fans" by Lawrence Kirsch -- I know I'm stepping on Drew Olson's toes here, but Kirsch sent me a copy of his lavish, hardcover book and it's a testament not only to the kind of devotion that The Boss inspires, but to that devotion itself among fans. There are more than 205 pages filled with great, previously unseen photographs spanning Springsteen's long career -- even going back to his Steel Mill days -- and page after page of personal memories of Springsteen shows, Boss meetings and other ways that Bruce has inspired his legion of fans. Although I couldn't find any photos or text for the legendary 1975 Uptown show here in Milwaukee, I did see a full page devoted to a blurb by Milwaukee ex-pat Cheryl Pawelski (now an A&R bigwig at Rhino Records) and a shorter one from Oconomowoc's Joi Kult about Springsteen's 2002 Bradley Center gig. Order the book at www.foryoubruce.com and gain some insight into the nature of fandom and the unique attraction of Bruce Springsteen. --Bobby Tanzilo
"Come Around" by the Counting Crows -- For the most part, the Counting Crows' "Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings" is a solid effort. It's a nice blend of what you'd expect from Adam Duritz and company, fun and upbeat at times, and then somber and emotional at others. I really liked "Come Around." It's singable and a just a cool tune about always seeing the possibilities through loss, love and life. "For all of the times that I go spinning up and down. When all of the things have died between us. Well, we'll still come around. We will come around." --J.S.
"Into The Wild' soundtrack by Eddie Vedder -- Not everyone can stomach the emotionally-charged baritone of Eddie Vedder, but if you can, his first solo project, the soundtrack to the 2007 movie "Into the Wild" is a must own. Vedder's lyrics help narrate and complement the film, directed by Sean Penn and based on the true life story of Christopher McCandles, a privileged college grad who dies on a spiritual quest in the Alaskan wilderness. Vedder, who received a 2008 Golden Globe for the track "Guaranteed," provides a rootsy, heartfelt score to a beautiful and difficult film. --Molly Snyder Edler
The Saturday trip to Usinger's -- Bobby Tanzilo's post about Usinger's in this space a few weeks ago was right on. There aren't many things that are more Milwaukee than Usinger's. The family business still thrives in Downtown Milwaukee at 1030 N. Old World 3rd St., and it's a beautiful, beautiful thing that hundreds still flock there as a part of their Saturday errand runs. Usingers.com describes its sausage shop to a tee: "When you visit our shop, it's like stepping back in time to another era. The tile floors, marble counters and wood beams have been in place since the turn of the century. A border mural depicting the elves hard at work making sausage has been in place since 1906. George Peters painted these murals. Best of all ... is the wonderful aroma of all the varieties of sausage when you enter the store. It's guaranteed to whet your appetite!" Open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays (weekdays, too), it's a perfect stop for samples and to stock up for the week. Even the lower fat summer sausage tastes better when bought straight from the elves at Usinger's. But the fresh little fritzies (yes, get over the name) wow. And, don't leave without a hickory stick or three. --Jeff Sherman
"At Last" by Etta James -- It may seem as ridiculous as recommending the Beatles' "White Album" or another classic, but this song popped up on the iPod during a recent dog walk and I once again marveled at how perfect it is. This was from James' 1961 Chess debut and it was a cover of a Mack Gordon / Harry Warren standard. --D.O.