Unless you’re 8 years old, winter sucks. Happily, the winter edition of the Milwaukee Recreation guide is loaded with hundreds of reasons to venture outside, including classes in arts and crafts, cooking, fitness, sports, and swimming. But sprinkled throughout are a few courses that defy explanation. With plenty of time remaining to sign up (mail-in and fax registration ends January 19), here are 11 Milwaukee Rec classes (some of them returning champs from the fall) that can only be described as “wonderfully weird.”
Bikes, Brats, and Bowling
One one hand, only in Wisconsin would there be a class called Bikes, Brats, and Bowling. On the other hand, does anyone in Wisconsin really need a class called Bikes, Brats, and Bowling? Either way, it’s hard to argue with a guided Harley-Davidson Museum tour, a sit-down lunch of Usinger’s Famous Sausage at Mader’s Restaurant, and some duck pin bowling at a “legendary Milwaukee spot.” All that—drinks, food, and free transportation—for $65 ($97.50 for non-residents)? Even if you’re adept in all three of the class subjects, bring on the refresher course.
Sundays in Wisconsin can be tough for non-football fans. How many “downs” are in a “drive”? What’s a “nickel defense”? What’s the deal with “Joe Buck” and “Troy Aikman”? Happily, Milwaukee Recreation’s Football Lingo course is here to help pigskin newbies hang with the seasoned pros. “Do you live with or know someone who watches a LOT of football?” the guide asks, narrowly avoiding prefacing that question with “Hey ladies!” “Do you want to become more knowledgeable of the game and contribute to the conversation?” Of course you do. This one-time-only class is held on Saturday, February 4—one day before the “big game.”
Curry, Curry, and more CURRY!
Every Milwaukee Rec guide is loaded with cooking classes, covering everything from soul food desserts to “gluten free comfort foods.” But few cooking classes cut to the chase faster than Curry, Curry, and more CURRY! Want some curries? You’ve got some curries. “Bengal Coconut Curry, Caribbean Shrimp Curry, Jamaican Chicken Curry, Tomato Onion Curry with lentils and some other Vegetable Curries” are all on tap. CURRY.
Reiki for You and Your Pet
Reiki, the Milwaukee Rec guide explains, is a “Japanese stress reducing relaxation technique based on the concept of utilizing one’s ‘life energy.'” And what Japanese stress reducing relaxation technique based on the concept of utilizing one’s “life energy” would be complete without a questionable application to one’s pets? “Learn how this energy can affect animals and how their chakra systems work,” reads the guide, before dropping the hilarious bombshell that no pets are allowed in class.
Romancing the Stone
Fans of seminal Kathleen Turner/Michael Douglas adventure-comedies (and/or fans of Danny DeVito) may be disappointed by this course, which takes its title almost literally. “Discover a connection to certain stones and crystals, particularly those that are heart-shaped,” reads the description. “Learn about stones and their tales of love.” No word on an equally delightful Jewel of the Nile course in the spring.
Romantic Story of Scent
“You will discover what scents bring love and what common household spice may bring you money,” teases the description for this odoriferous course. Presumably that common household spice is tied in with the the $7 cash-only, non-refundable supply fee due to the instructor at the beginning of class.
Frankenfood – It’s a Hot Mess out There!
Coming in a close second for best class title (behind Curry, Curry, and more CURRY!), Frankenfood – It’s a Hot Mess out There makes no bones about its belief that genetically engineered foods are the stuff of dystopian nightmares. “Class will cover foods considered to be the Dirty dozen and the Clean 15,” trumpets the description, immediately after warning “large corporations (the big 6) have no legal laws to reveal how food is grown and produced to give consumers the truth about what’s in our food supply.”
Candle Gazing Meditation
Is there anything better than staring into a fire and zoning the fuck out? As long as that fire staring doesn’t lead to fire starting, no. This class agrees, listing among candle gazing’s benefits “improved vision, digestion, sleep, focus, patience, willpower, self-confidence, productivity, and it can help with depression, anxiety, food sensitivities, headaches, and fatigue.” Not too shabby. (No word on whether it’s BYOC.)
Looking to add that “little bit extra to your next presentation at work”? Hoping to “impress your friends”? Just looking to do anything this winter? Then this Circus Skills class is for you! For a $33 residents fee ($49.50 for non-residents), you’ll learn the ins and outs of balancing, magic, puppetry, and showmanship. Oh, and juggling, of course, because nothing spices up a soul-deadening PowerPoint presentation or an awkward coffee date quite like some unsolicited juggling.
“Laughter is a healing force!” proclaims the description to Laughter Yoga, which is a thing. Put on by the “Hysterical Society of Milwaukee” (!), this course promises stress, tension, pain, and depression reduction coupled with a fun and easy aerobic workout. And laughing. Lots of laughing. Students are encouraged to text their friends “IRTLOLBIJSUFLY,” which, of course, stands for “I’m ready to laugh out loud because I just signed up for Laughter Yoga!”
Like ghosts, alien abductions, and anti-Semitic messages hidden in Shorewood sculptures, numerology is not real. But hey, what’s the harm in mucking around with it anyway? “Discuss the significance of your favorite or lucky number and how the world of numbers is mystifying, fascinating, and available to everyone,” reads the guide. Though it’s not mentioned specifically, the course will also likely delve into the hidden meanings behind the $8 residents and $12 non-residents fee.