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Can I really go to Madison and not eat at Himal Chuli?
Can I really go to Madison and not eat at Himal Chuli?

Where should I eat in Madison?

Although it’s not the sand-in-my-butt-crack vacation I really desire right now, I’m going to Madison for a change of scenery. In the past, a trip to Madtown automatically meant a meal at Himal Chuli, a great Nepali restaurant on State Street, but this time, I’m going to try someplace new.

Any suggestions? I am considering the Caribbean-flavored Jamerica on Williamson Street or possibly the Old Fashioned on Pickney.

Actually, I have been to the Old Fashioned once before with coworkers including publisher (and my amigo) Andy Tarnoff who ordered a burger topped with bacon, fried onions and a soft-cooked egg. After a week of caution-to-the-wind holiday horking, I don’t think I’m game for this much decadence on a bun, but I also remember the folks at the Old Fashioned making a hell of an old school cocktail.

Any other Madison restaurant suggestions?

This little Santa dude is 7 now. He got an iPod Nano for Christmas.
This little Santa dude is 7 now. He got an iPod Nano for Christmas.

Feeling like this yet?

Every year, I post this photo of my then-2-year-old son, Levi. I call it "Too Much Christmas" or "Christmas Sucks." (A play-on-words reference to him sucking on that pacifier.)

Sure, Christmas is a blast, but -- as this photo reminds -- there comes a time when enough is enough and it's time to pack away the holiday cheer for another year. Are you there yet?

Regardless ... Merry Christmas, Milwaukee.

The Squeezettes are keeping the Milwaukee polka tradition alive ... and tipsy.
The Squeezettes are keeping the Milwaukee polka tradition alive ... and tipsy.

"Did I Close Wolski's?"

In case you haven’t received enough "last-minute great gift" ideas, here’s one more. The beautiful thing about this one is you get to buy it at a bar so you can drink beer and shop at the same time.

Local accordion band The Squeezettes recorded a polka called "Did I Close Wolski’s?" and it’s available on its 12-song CD that’s -- not surprisingly -- for sale at Wolski’s, 1836 N. Pulaski St.

"We have fun, we like to drink good beer and we want to get people smiling, so that's why we did this," says Sarah Kozar, one of the five members of The Squeezettes.

Kozar says she and the band plan to write more polkas for other local bars.

"There are many options available: Linneman's, The Uptowner, Circa, Squirrel Cage. I was gonna write one for the Swingin' Door before Mike sold the place," says Kozar.

Here are the lyrics to the "I Closed Wolski’s" polka, written by Kozar and Jeff Buettner.

"I Closed Wolski’s Polka!"

Did I close Wolski’s?

I didn’t know Pulaski Street.
Now it is my new retreat!
Would you serve me two more beers?
Not for another hundred years.

I might have closed Wolski’s.

How about a round of dice?
Don’t look at me I shook ‘em twice!
Dennis said "This shot’s on us!"
I had to go home on the bus.

I think I closed Wolski’s.

Adventure, Danger and Romance!
Polka is my kind of dance!
100 years behind the bars.
100 more it’s written in the stars!

Please do not make PJ yell.
Make him want to ring that bell!
Why won’t you fill up my beer.
I have been for hours here!

Did you say I closed Wolski’s?

Your Lakefront beer is mighty fine.
I would like another Stein.
You can earn a bumper sticker.
If you drink a lot more liquor!

I shouldn’t have closed Wolski’s.

I can see you’re tipsy dear.
I’ll take you home that 100th year!
Have you seen Denis, Mike or Bernie?
I could use a good attorney!

Why did I close Wolski’s?

Oh would you please call me a cab …you’re a cab, you’re a cab!
Would you like a pickled egg?
Oh I’d rather break …

Do you have a penchant for close-call, head-on collisions? This chicken wants to know.
Do you have a penchant for close-call, head-on collisions? This chicken wants to know.

My first game of "chicken"

I had an unnerving experience on the way to work on Friday. It took me a few days to process this, otherwise I would have blogged about it sooner. Anyway, I was driving east on Burleigh at around 9 a.m. when, about three blocks away, a car driving in the oncoming traffic lane quickly cut into my lane and started driving towards me, head on.

Clearly, the driver was accelerating because the car was moving at an uncomfortably fast pace. My mind started to race, partially in confusion, partially out of fear and partially in delight.

"Holy crap," I thought. "Is this a game of chicken?"

When the car was a little less than a half of a block away, still accelerating, I quickly turned right onto an intersecting street. The car flew past me and turned onto the next street, squealing the tires. My heart was beating faster than normal and I started rubbing my fingers together in this way I reserve for moments of heightened nervousness. (It does absolutely nothing and yet it totally helps.)

A part of me finds this escapade stupid ... but another part finds it kinda awesome. I mean, it was, after all, my very first game of chicken. Playing chicken wasn’t exactly on my "bucket list" of things to do before I die, but as an experience junkie, I appreciate it on that level. And yet another part of me -- probably the mama bear side -- feels freaked out by the possibility that someone could have gotten seriously messed up. I thought about how quickly I turned the corner to avoid the oncoming car, and how easily I could have hit someone crossing the street. It gives me the shudders just thinking about it.

Finally, I wonder who exactly plays a game of chicken at 9 a.m. on a weekday?

Later, I called a friend and told her about my experience. She suggested it was a "sign." That the car moving towards me was a "wake up call" and that, clearly, I need to face something that I am unwilling to face. I understand this esoteric way of thinking, but I don’t think it "means" anything unles…