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Who dat feeling sports pride?

I never wear clothing with sports logos. Ever. Well, until this week, in New Orleans, I wore a "Geaux Saints" T-shirt, and you know what? It was so fun to wear.

I love gabbing briefly with strangers, making connections with passersby, having a shared moment with a new smiling face – and there were so many of those moments – just because of the silly shirt.

Some of these high points included a huge grin and an "a'right?!" from an elderly gentleman in a Santa hat, a high-five from a server at a Royal Street cafe and a "dem Saints!" from my hotel's bellman.

On a side note, New Orleans has a unique source for their team pride. The Saints' 2009 Superbowl win gave residents a distraction from the lingering aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the chance to rally together in "Who Dat" glory. The city needed that win.

And this week, while I had the pleasure of celebrating Christmas in the French Quarter, it was just so interesting for me to get a taste of the deep-rooted NOLA unity among residents as well as the camaraderie that goes along with supporting a sports team in general.

Don't get me wrong: I am always pulling for Milwaukee teams in a somewhat deeper way. I always want them to fare well because it makes people around me so dang happy and because it's good for the city. Plus, my father was a huge Brewers fan and I have many, many fond memories of County Stadium and Miller Park.

I've just never been a diehard or enough of a diehard to adorn my body with a sports logo.

And despite my positive Saints-related interactions this week, I don't plan to run out and buy Packers or Brewers garb. I was, however, genuinely happy to experience a sliver of fandom that y'all have told me about for decades.

A very merry Milwaukee Bicycle Collective.
A very merry Milwaukee Bicycle Collective.

Bingo makes miracles

A couple of months ago, I reported on Potawatomi Bingo Casino's annual fundraiser called Miracle on Canal Street, the casino's signature charitable program with the mission to improve the quality of life for children in southeastern Wisconsin.

Through a series of special bingo games, the 2012 program raised $981,273 for 30 Wisconsin-based charities.

This year, Potawatomi chose as a Miracle On Canal signature media partner.'s charity of choice was the Milwaukee Bicycle Collective.

The bicycle collective is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that provides a publicly accessible bicycle resource center for the city of Milwaukee.

The group received a check for $32,709 from Miracle On Canal Street earlier this week, and won an additional $3,000 through additional charity games.

"We are extremely excited for the potential that this grant can offer us. The collective has been able to slowly improve over the past few years but this pushes us well over the tipping point and opens up a lot of opportunities to help become a bigger part of the surrounding neighborhood," says Jason McDowell, designer and Milwaukee Bicycle Collective volunteer.

Putting the "XXX" in X-mas.
Putting the "XXX" in X-mas. (Photo:

Are strip clubs open on Christmas?

What started out as casual fodder in the editorial room eventually took shape as this blog. During innocent holiday-related conversation, we somehow got on the topic whether or not strip clubs were open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Eventually, curiosity got the best of me.

A few phone calls and Facebook messages later, I am able to answer the question. Some strip clubs are open, but not all, and those that are open have limited hours.

Granted, most may not equate Christmas with strippers, but then again, some might. Who am I to judge? In fact, "College" Dave Mikolajek, an contributor, spent some time at a strip club on Christmas and shares a memory.

"Her name was Vicky. It was a long time ago. She danced to 'Santa baby, hurry down the chimney tonight' and after the set she walked around the crowd for tips while singing 'ho, ho, ho' and handing out candy canes," says Mikolajek.

In case you wanted to stuff some sass into your Christmas, or if you're just curious about strip club holiday hours like I was, here are my findings.

Airport Lounge
5881 S. Howell Ave., (414) 747-1142
Christmas Eve: closed
Christmas Day: TBD (Please call ahead)

Art's Performing Center
144 E. Juneau Ave., (414) 271-8288
Christmas Eve: closed
Christmas Day: closed

101 S. Dana Ct., (414) 257-0234
Christmas Eve: open until 7 p.m.
Christmas Day: TBD (Call ahead.)

On the Border
10741 S. 27th St., (414) 761-6440
Christmas Eve: open from 6 p.m. to close
Christmas Day: open, most likely, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Please call ahead)

Silk Exotic Gentleman's Club
11400 W. Silver Spring Rd., (414) 462-7455
Christmas Eve: 11 a.m. to close
Christmas day: 7 p.m. to close

Solid Gold
813 S. 1st St., (414) 647-0130
Christmas Eve: open from 7 p.m. to close
Christmas Day: open from 7 p.m. to close
(I was particularly fond of the phone conversation I had with the man who answered the phone at Solid Gold. After he gave me the holiday hours, I asked if there was anything "special" going on for Chr…

This guy? Definitely not Santa.
This guy? Definitely not Santa. (Photo:

The truth about Santa declared a "buzzkill"

Every year, I read threads between parents in various online groups about lying to kids about the existence of Santa. While some parents are vehemently opposed to the Santa myth, others don't see it as more than a harmless tradition.

I let my kids believe there was a Santa. I never told them one way or another, but they latched on to the idea eagerly and suckled on the Father Christmas concept long after the real magic ran dry. I was comfortable with how it played out because, well, believing in Santa is fun.

But I did wonder from time to time – particularly when other parents brought it up – how my kids would react to the truth.

While on vacation Up North this summer, my family spontaneously had the "Santa talk." I'm not exactly sure how it came up, but before long, the kids, ages 9 and 10, were admitting for the first time that they didn't believe in Santa anymore and hadn't for a long time.

They said they knew that Santa was parents and grandparents. My older kid said  it was a "kind of a buzzkill," a word I had once (accidentally?) used to describe him when he was whining and complaining at a theme park.

"Yeah," I said. "The truth about Santa is a buzzkill. Sorry, guys."

But they weren't sad or mad, just chatted about fake mall Santas while sitting at a picnic table eating watermelon. And then they buried each other up to their necks in the sand.

Once again, I learned that so many "issues" in parenting we create aren't really there. The older I get, the more I realize there will be plenty of real stuff to worry about and the existence of jolly old St. Nick just ain't one of 'em.