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Victory Green wearing Liberty's famous costume of blue.
Victory Green wearing Liberty's famous costume of blue.

Meet a guy who wears a Statue of Liberty costume to work

You can count on two things in January: an ugly, post-holidays credit card bill in your mailbox and sightings of people dressed in Statue of Liberty costumes dancing on city corners waving signs.

These folks work for Liberty Tax Service, the third largest tax preparation company in the market. And they are cheerful. I mean, really cheerful and super high energy. They're smiling, waving, dancing around. Aren't they cold? Aren't they resentful of a seasonal job that requires them to wear a velvety, turquoise robe and crown to work?

Earlier today, I stopped at Locust and Holton Streets and chatted with Victory Green, a 42-year-old working the job for a second tax season. I asked him the questions I have wondered for dozens of tax seasons now. How long are your shifts?

Victory Green: Four hours.

OMC: How much do you get paid?

VG: $7.50 an hour.

OMC: Do you ever get cold out here?

VG: Not if I dress right. (He has a sweatshirt and a winter coat on under the costume).

OMC: Does your employer tell you to dance around?

VG: Yes, it's part of the job.

OMC: Does it work?

VG: It works. You get a lot of waves, horns, people bust smiles. I like to see people smile.

OMC: Do people yell stuff out their windows at you?

VG: I've gotten some middle fingers and once in a blue moon you get something really un-nice.

OMC: Do you like this job?

VG: It's all in how you look at it. And it beats nothing.

Check out the Winter Spirits dinner at Great Lakes Distillery this weekend.
Check out the Winter Spirits dinner at Great Lakes Distillery this weekend.

Two eating / drinking events I'm looking forward to this weekend

It's looking like a whiskey and chili weekend for me and I couldn't be more excited to indulge. Here are two events I plan to attend this weekend and I think you should consider going, too.

"Winter Spirits" dinner at Great Lakes Distillery

This Saturday, Jan. 28, Great Lakes Distillery teams up with Kasana Concierge Gourmet and will host a pop-up, six-course dinner infused with spirits in the midst of the distillery's operations, 616 W. Virginia St. Great Lake's Jason Neu will complement each course with a crafted cocktail. (I thought pop-up was just for books, so I look forward to experiencing my first dinner of this kind.)

Plus, documentary filmmaker Janet Fitsch will be a special dinner guest and musician and composer Allen Cote will perform during the reception.

The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and costs $55 per person or $100 per couple. Tickets are still available through today, Thursday, Jan. 26. I'll be the one trying to down lots of water in between cocktails so I don't say or do anything overtly inappropriate.

The 6th Annual Milwaukee Chili Cook-Off

More than 30 local restaurants will compete for the "golden ladle award" this Sunday, Jan. 29, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be more than 60 types of chili to sample.

In the past, the event was held at the Harley Museum, but because of its growing popularity, it required a larger venue this year and will therefore take over Potawatomi Bingo Casino's new Expo Center.

The event is held every year between the championships and the Super Bowl to assure football fans can make it because we all know 96 percent of all chili consumption is done by fans of the NFL. (This statistic may have been made up).

The cost is $15 at the door or $12 in advance. Kids under 7 are free. Anyone attending under 18 must get registered online prior to the event because the event is in a casino which normally does not allow children.

Each ticket includes admission and eight 3-ounce chili samples which will range from tradit…

"I loved the bar, but it's great having my nights and weekends back," says Mike Zimmer.
"I loved the bar, but it's great having my nights and weekends back," says Mike Zimmer.

Three is not the charm for Zim's

Mike Zimmer opened his first bar, Zim's Sports Bar & Grill, in 2006 on Milwaukee Street in Downtown Milwaukee. Last summer, he moved the bar to 814 S. 2nd St. in the former Fifth Ward Pub space.

And now, the new location is closed, too, and Zimmer told me today during a phone conversation that he's done in the bar business.

"I had a great time. I really enjoyed myself. But it's time to move on to bigger and better things," says Zimmer. "I got an opportunity at Johnson Controls that was just too good to pass up."

Zimmer says he sold the bar to a new owner who's not quite ready to be identified. The new place, he says, will not be a sports bar, but it will be similar to Zim's in its atmosphere and offerings.

"Expect a classic, Milwaukee-style pub," he says.

Stay tuned to for more information about the new bar when it's available. And best of luck to Mike Zimmer from all of us at

Blow the snow or no?
Blow the snow or no?

Are snow blowers worth the money?

I guess this question hinges on the amount of space that needs clearing in a yard. So take my house. I have an average-sized city lot and I need to shovel in front of my house, a path to the porch, the porch stairs, a path from the back door to the garage and in front of my garage. Pretty typical, but a pain in the arse if I don't go with the "look at it as fresh air and exercise" approach to shoveling.

So I decided I would buy a  snow blower. And so I went to a few stores that sell snow blowers. And I froze with sticker shock. (But this is common for me. I seem to always think things should cost about half of what they do). I did not buy one, but I have not let go of the thought.

Are snow blowers really worth the money? Is it one of those purchases that "pays for itself?" Or is it more like a dishwasher, which, in my opinion, is just as much work as hand washing dishes, just different work?