Should the owner of this car get a ticket or an ass whuppin'?
Should the owner of this car get a ticket or an ass whuppin'?

The world's most dangerous license plate

A friend forwarded this photo to me yesterday and I can't decide whether the license plate depicted in this photo -- if spotted within Brown County -- would merit some kind of speeding or reckless driving ticket or just a general ass-whuppin'.

This must belong to a very dedicated -- and very brave -- Bears fan.


Smoking in bars and other public places will be banned in Wisconsin beginning July 5.
Smoking in bars and other public places will be banned in Wisconsin beginning July 5.

The countdown continues ...

The countdown continues ...

A week from today, for the first time in more than a quarter-century of drinking (legally) at taverns in the State of Wisconsin, every establishment I visit will be smoke-free.

That's right -- the ban goes into effect next Monday. Some people are thrilled. Some are livid. Some are wondering what's going to happen. The transition is going to be fascinating.

Milwaukee Ald. Bob Donovan released a statement this morning ridiculing a rumor that the Mayor's office is asking police to enforce the ban inside taverns and nightclubs.

"As if Milwaukee police officers aren't already up to their badges in calls for service for cruising, shots fired, armed robberies, and other possible serious crimes, starting July 5 they'll also be asked to make sure no one lights up a smoke inside taverns and nightclubs," Donovan said.

I don't think "smoke patrols" are a particularly good idea, either, but I'm reasonably sure that the folks in charge will do the right thing in that regard.

I don't smoke, but people who do have never kept me from visiting a tavern when I'm thirsty. The ban doesn't effect me directly, other than the fact that the clothes in my hamper will smell a bit fresher after a night out.

But, I can hardly wait to see the sideshow that is coming our way. If you think the fireworks will end on July 4, wait until we see what happens the first few weeks after the ban begins.

The Bucks traded Charlie Bell to Golden State...
The Bucks traded Charlie Bell to Golden State... (Photo: Allen Fredrickson)
... a year after he spent time doing people's jobs for and
... a year after he spent time doing people's jobs for and (Photo: Allen Fredrickson)

A friend is traded, but it's just business...

Charlie Bell is one of my favorite local athletes.

He was, anyway, until yesterday when the Bucks packaged him with Dan Gadzuric and traded the duo to Golden State for Corey Maggette and the 44th pick in the upcoming draft.

Bell is a personable guy. He's a native of Flint, Mich., and played in college at Michigan State, so he has Midwestern roots. Undrafted out of college, he went to Europe to get a chance to make it in the NBA. He's a solid family guy. He spent much of the offseason in town, which is rare for pro athletes in these parts. He embraces social media. And, he was terrific last season when partnered with the Bucks for the "Hey Charlie, Do My Job!" webisode series (see below).

Though I'll definitely miss Charlie, the Bucks probably made a good move by trading him. Neither Bell nor Gadzuric figured in the Bucks' plans for 2010-'11. Their primary value was their contracts. The Warriors, who are for sale, wanted to clear some money off their payroll. They had a yard sale, put Maggette in the driveway and the Bucks bought.

Maggette is due to make nearly $31 million over the next three seasons. Bell and Gadzuric are to make about $15 million combined over the next two seasons (Gadzuric's deal has only one year remaining).

The Bucks need scoring. Maggette, 30, provides that, but little else. The gamble here, from the Bucks' perspective, is whether Maggette can flourish in Scott Skiles' offense, which focuses on ball movement and post touches. He's probably going to struggle on defense, so he'll have to offset that by getting 20 points and going to the foul line.

With Michael Redd's max contract still on the books for another year, the Bucks were looking forward to financial flexibility. Maggette's deal could end up being an anchor in that regard.

So far, Skiles has done an admirable job with the chemistry of this team. And, general manager John Hammond might be in line for executive of the decade for mo…

When storms hit, the TV weathermen we ridicule can be lifesavers.
When storms hit, the TV weathermen we ridicule can be lifesavers.

When Mother Nature attacks ...

Whether we call them weathermen, meteorologists, forecasters or -- based on what's happening outside at the time, an expletive -- the guys who stand in front of the maps on the local news take a lot of abuse.

Some of it is good-natured. Some of it is funny. Some of it is mean-spirited, bordering on cruel.

When the chips are down, though, we need them.

Last night, when severe weather ripped through the area, I flipped around from station to station and watched the pros at work. Almost all of the folks on duty were on the air practically non-stop, explaining the ominous blobs on the radar screen, giving warnings as they came in and imparting information about what happened, what was happening and what was going to happen.

As someone who dabbles in broadcasting, I have an idea how tough that gig can be. Everyone I watched did an outstanding job.

Fortunately, my area was spared the brunt of the storm, though the tornado warning sirens did sound for a little bit. My little one, who is approaching double-digits in age and probably needs a new moniker in blogs like this, was quite frightened and begged me to turn off the "scary" reports.

I tried to explain to her how it was important to keep up with what was happening. I tried to tell her about the science of storms and forecasting and how -- even though it was a bit frightening -- what the people on TV were talking about was important because viewers knew not to leave their homes and to head to the basement if they were in the path of the storm.

By the time the sprout realized that we were safe and our relatives around the area were going to be OK, too, I was glad that we had these folks on the job.

Now, I'm still going to ridicule them for the overblown "stormageddon" coverage of a two-inch dusting of snow. But, we needed information last night and the pros came through.

Special kudos to the reporters playing the role of storm chasers, checking out the damage and let…