By Alan Eisenberg, Editor
What on earth is a Propmaster? The most amazing propmaster in America works right here in Milwaukee at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. I know because I personally interviewed Jim Guy for two hours recently. He is a total genius, with an encyclopedic mind. That’s just my opinion and I’m sticking to it. One of Milwaukee’s best kept secrets is that the Rep houses and enormous warehouse that sinks deep into the bowels of the building on East Wells street and is a gazillion feet large. I saw the following: a replica Model T Ford (Guy designed and built it) for Ragtime, a copy of an ornate pillow from the studio at Ten Chimneys, or any of the picture frames, crutches, umbrellas and other effects (and I use the term generously) organized at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater; if you didn’t realize that this was a collection of masterpiece props, you might easily think you were in a salvage yard, but every single piece has a story and helps tell one. Guy and the pieces often travel the country and are even rented out. Anything someone needs, Jim Guy has it, can build it or can get it. Guy will appear on the “Alan Eisenberg Show” this very next Sundaynight on WRJN.com (listen live link) or Monday at WRJN.com at the podcast link archive.
It’s a pictorial essay, “Picture Worth A Thousand Words”
Pierce Elementary Presents Latin American Program
By Alan Eisenberg, Editor
Franklin Pierce Elementary School on Fratney Street in Milwaukee hosted an
exciting Latin American Program involving performances of both vocal and dance music on May 23rd. The school is bi-lingual, so all of the performances were also bi-lingual. The vocals and dances were derived from a selection from many Latin American countries. The faculty choreographed the dancing and taught the vocals. The highlight of the event was a set of dance performances that had been prepared and were performed at the Bradley Center for the “Mad Hot Ballroom Competition” earlier in the week, both tap dancing and ballroom dancing. The choreographing for that event was assisted by Danceworks, a Milwaukee non-profit that teaches dancing in some
Milwaukee Public Schools. The Bradley Center performance by Pierce Elementary was sponsored in part by the Greater Milwaukee Board of Realtors.
Mounted throughout the auditorium were flags from all of the Latin American countries. An interesting narrator/announcer was Celena Phommachanh who also was part of a celebration of Roberto Clemente’s and Celia Cruz’s lives. Ms. Phommachanh is also an academic excellence award winner honored at a recent dinner.
Is This Teacher Supernatural?
By Alan Eisenberg, Editor
This is too exciting! Among all of the other things that I do, I study The History of American Art at UW-M, and my “Prof” is a splendid gentleman by the name of Michael Aschenbrenner. I have been a student at various universities since 1959 but this guy is the best. (Boy, am I old!) Aschenbrenner has an interesting modus operandi of teaching. He shows a long string of slides of ancient art, but takes the students back in time to the era that the painting describes. It’s almost magic. There we are, in 17th century colonial America. Two months ago, he took us on an amazing Boston graveyard tour, and we wound up being taken back in time to about 1670. It never even occurred to me to figure out how he had these eery 17th century photos. Cameras didn’t exist. He was explaining early American sculpture, so I immediately got mentally involved with his explanations and details. Suddenly a 21st century photo popped up and the class (including me) roared. It was a photo of Aschenbrenner sitting or squatting next to a 1670 sculptured tombstone with a big grin. It never occurred to me that Aschenbrenner was that old. If you take the class, you might wonder! (He is not hoary with age.)
Father Jose Moreno: Doctor, Engineer, Teacher, Jesuit Priest and NOW Poet and Lyricist
By Alan Eisenberg, Editor
Father Jose Moreno is the Jesuit priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe/St. Patrick’s Church, a largely Latino parish on the South Side of Milwaukee on seventh and Washington. Born in Mexico City, Father Jose Moreno obtained both a master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in biomechanical engineering that included research on developing mathematical models of the human body, and he came on a full scholarship. Then he returned to Mexico City to become a Jesuit priest. His resume is extremely diverse. He has served as a Professor of Mathematics, a missionary, a textbook author and still has his own website: Mathematike.org! He has been honored, praised, and prayed for. He is both low keyed and well known, He is not just a man of the cloth, he is a man of God. We can now add to his resume: he is officially now a poet and a lyricist. He has a prison ministry, and a project for Families of the Incarcerated. First he composed a poem/prayer, and then he gave it to several prison inmates because it was pertinent to their lives. One of the prisoners surprised Moreno by setting it to music. Then he took the words and music to his church children’s choir.
These are a part of the wonderful words: I will be a messenger of your peace . . .When I find hatred and revenge, I will bring your love . . .In fights and divisions, I will offer forgiveness and reconciliation . . .When I find doubts and problems, I will share my faith . . . In sadness and sorrow, I will be a sign of joy and friendship . . .I will bring hope and truth . . My life will be a sign of light.
The music was then performed and recorded. A CD was produced, and this amazing piece along with nine others are now for sale as a church fundraiser and can be purchased at the church after Mass every Sunday or at the rectory office. Father Moreno’s sermons are wonderful, and he exhibits a great sense of humor. Heavenly music by a heavenly children’s choir composed by a Jesuit priest is now for sale! The cost is only $10 and will make a wonderful Easter gift!
Guns, guns, guns, and murder
By Alan Eisenberg, Editor
The entire country seems to be in a turmoil because of ferocious gun debates taking place everywhere. Vice-President Biden has been appointed by President Obama to head a guns and violence task force. At this time sources say there over 300 million firearms in homes, cars, places of business and people’s pockets. That’s one gun for every person. Almost everyone either has one or wants at least one. The national conversation has been prompted by recent mass shootings and massacres. The first target in the activists sights are the high-powered military style automatic weapons. The owners say they need them for hunting and self-defense. Use of a “Bushmaster” would turn a deer into a lead statue in five seconds. A human being target would become Swiss cheese. The NRA insists that ownership, possession and use of all firearms is protected by the Second Amendment. The founding fathers probably knew nothing about Bushmasters and AK 47s. The NRA has begun a campaign to abolish all “gun-free zones” at schools. They want armed guards and armed teachers at all schools. Perhaps all children should be armed with guns at birth. The next problematic area is that the use of the high-powered guns requires use of high capacity magazines. With these ammo machines one can kill 200 people in five seconds. And one Teflon bullet can penetrate 3 people, and even police wearing armor! Guns don’t kill people, it’s bullets that kill people. And people kill people. Why? Some are worked up after seeing violent video games and movies. Or violent TV shows. Or the nightly news! Many of the worst killers always turn out to be mentally ill. Announcements are already being made by NRA people and politicians that there will be no changes made legislatively, and any politician who tries will be run out of office. The President can issue effective (maybe) executive orders. If one doesn’t want to pay full price, there’s always Wal-Mart, America’s biggest weapons purveyor, or better yet, gun shows where no one gets checked for felony records or mental health commitments. Even that isn’t the best method anyway, because there are millions of nut-jobs cruising around who have never even seen a doctor. Is there a solution for all of this? We would love to read your suggestions; contact email@example.com, with your opinions. The photo is of Ted Nugent, the number one pro-gun guy. Nice, hmmm?
Marijuana: It’s Time to Re-think It!
By Alan Eisenberg, Editor and Craig M. Pradarelli, M.D.
Sometime in the early part of the last century the State of Wisconsin made the possession of marijuana unlawful. This followed a move by the US Government which eventually made marijuana a Schedule 1 Narcotic. Schedule 1 narcotics are those which have no recognized medical use. There has been much research which demonstrates that there are long list of legitimate uses for marijuana in the treatment of health and disease. A good example of this is Dronabinol which is an extract of the marijuana plant. Other examples are found simply by going to Pubmed.com and reviewing the voluminous research that is available to be read there. As is evidenced by the fact that there is now extracts from the plant being used in every day medicine along with the fact that marijuana now has numerous other uses demonstrates the fallacy under which marijuana became a Schedule 1 narcotic.
Reviewing the literature from the time of the prohibition of marijuana reveals reasoning behind this prohibition range from racist to outright lies and mischaracterizations as shown in the movie Reefer Madness, which is regarded as propaganda. Divisions of the U.S. Government have made statements about marijuana which have no basis in fact. The reasons for these actions remain a mystery to scholars and numerous other experts. As we now know, there are official medical uses for marijuana and its extracts. There is little supporting evidence which overstates the dangers of this plant. There have been outright falsehoods placed in the media about this plant and it leads us to ask the question “why does this plant remain unlawful to possess in the State of Wisconsin?”
It also seems that the laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana are in opposition to the will of the people of both the United States as well as the State of Wisconsin. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found 17.4 million Americans were using marijuana in 2010. Other research indicates that a significant number of Americans have reported to researchers that they have tried the plant. While not necessarily legal in Mexico, a huge portion of the population uses it there. Twelve states allow use of “medical marijuance” which was accomplished after vast research. Two states allow use for both medical and recreational purposes.The current prohibition of marijuana is financially damaging to both the economy of the State of Wisconsin as well as the United States. Currently the majority of marijuana consumed in the United States is grown outside of the United States. By virtue of the fact that marijuana is unlawful to grow in the United States this prohibition forces the trade deficit to increase. In other words marijuana prohibition is forcing US dollars to leave the country and forcing huge exxpenditures for unnecessary law enforcement. As you are aware the State is having problems meeting its budget. While there have been some efforts to obtain a balanced budget there are still huge agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources which for reasons that escape logic are taking funds needed to properly fund the rest of the state, and instead purchasing land that is not needed by the State, preventing funds from being generated by the property taxes of these lands.
Associated with the prohibition of marijuana is the cost of enforcing the prohibition. The late Milton Friedman, a noted and well respected economist, estimated that the annual cost associated with prohibition of marijuana was 7.7 billion dollars annually. Roughly 2% of that is the cost to the State of Wisconsin associated with the prohibition of marijuana or roughly 106 million dollars.
The same study related the following “Revenue from taxation of marijuana sales would range from $2.4 billion per year if marijuana were taxed like ordinary consumer goods to $6.2 billion if it were taxed like alcohol or tobacco.” Again assuming 2% of this for the State of Wisconsin would yield 48 million dollars to the State of Wisconsin. It must be pointed out that every day in the State of Wisconsin there are numerous cash sales of marijuana which the State is not currently receiving any portion of the sales tax which it is properly entitled to. When looked at in its totality the prohibition of marijuana did not come as a result due to a demand from the populace, was based on nonfactual information and hysteria, did not account for the fact that it has medical uses, is used by thousands of Wisconsinites recreationally irrespective of the prohibition, and is extremely expensive to enforce the prohibition and would generate savings and revenue if legalized. At this time, some legislators are considering legalization.
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