Friday, July 28, 2006

Life in the Not So Big City

So people want to know what it's like in Milwaukee, especially as an expatriate suburban Chicagolander. The first thing that strikes me about the place, at least in the hospital, is that there actually are a lot of other expatriate suburban Chicagolanders around here.

You often discover this secretly, in a discussion on sports, for instance. If the other person doesn't talk about the Green Bay Packers with a reverential deference, you begin to wonder...if the person doesn't know anything about the Badgers, you become almost certain, and eventually they'll say something that will seal the deal - "didn't the Bears have a great season last year?" Of course, as turncoat Green Bay fan, I just nod and smile.

Many of us in this secret society of people from Chicago often refer to Milwaukee as Chicago's northernmost suburb, a designation not really favored by the locals here for some reason. Some people I've talked to here think of Milwaukee as a big "small town" but it seems to me the people running Milwaukee are more interested in making it into a "New Chicago" than a charming bucolic throwback to the days of yore.

One thing everyone can agree on: don't speed in Milwaukee, or Wisconsin generally. If you do, you will get a big, fat ticket. This fact is so well known and understood, that I routinely see people driving the speed limit. This is an unheard of practice in Illinois.

In fact, on Illinois highways one can safely go 70-75mph despite a speed limit of 55mph. In Wisconsin, with a speed limit of 65mph, people drive no faster than 75mph. The daring few in the left lane may push it to 80mph but even then only when safely out of the stretch of highway between Kenosha and Racine, which is one giant speedtrap.

There are even billboards that advertise this fact - I saw one that said, "Speeding is a Big Ticket Item" and another one for Cousin's subway sandwiches that says, "It's worth its weight in speeding tickets."

So I guess it's safe to say that life is slower here...

There are also some random connections back to Chicago even up here. News Radio WBBM 780 from Chicago comes in quite clearly up here and I often listen with special delight when they give the rush hour traffic reports in Chicago.

There is no such thing as 50 minute delays here in Milwaukee. Even with a massive highway construction project, it takes no more than 15-20 minutes for my commute, a blessing I can hardly describe to you in Chicago.

But there are prices to pay for this life of ease. We do not have nearly the selection of relatively cheap, but good, Indo-Pak or Arab restaurants out here. One place that is pretty good that I've been to is called Ujala, which makes some great naan and chicken karahai.

That's it for now on my notes on M-town...if I get time, maybe some stories from my month in the ER...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Crisis in Lebanon

"No one can for one moment accept rockets in Haifa, Nazareth, or anywhere in Israel. But demanding that the Lebanese government rein in Hezbollah while bombs rain down on a variety of targets, some civilian, is not the answer.

Widening the war will inflame tensions, increase casualties and decrease any prospect for a permanent peace. The United States can best support Israel and the Arab world by vigorously pursuing an end to the violence, the resumption of a peace process and a commitment to unite the region to isolate terrorist groups and all who oppose a just and lasting peace for all people."
-Representative Jim McDermott, Washington State

"The Lebanese people, who had hoped that their country's dark days were behind them, have been brutally dragged back into war. Already, over 300 Lebanese have been killed and over 600 wounded. And the casualties are mainly among the civilian population, about one third of them children. Much of the infrastructure in Beirut and around the country has been destroyed. Lebanon remains under an Israeli military blockade, imposed by sea and air."
-Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General

"In Lebanon, from a humanitarian standpoint, we are witnessing a tragic, downward spiral. We already have a crisis with rapidly growing unmet needs. Every day the fighting continues takes us closer to a human catastrophe."
-Louis Michel, the Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid (European Commission)

"Call for an immediate cease-fire in the region that would allow the rapid deployment of the international humanitarian aid effort and the return of international law;"
-Conference of the Presidents, European Parliament

Saturday, July 08, 2006

My latest addiction

I absolutely love the game, "Pac the Man X" developed by McSebi.  It is based on the old PacMan arcade game and is really well done.  My high score is over 56,000 and my goal is to erase Imran and Ejaaz's high scores from my high score list. I think they only have one score each on the list now.  Soon, my precious, soon the list will be all mine...

Hey, so there's not a whole lot to do in Milwaukee, okay...