Let's say we're all bees. Each and every one of us is buzzing about-
buzz buzz buzz.
The honey that we make is our lives. Experience has taught me two things...


...and LIFE is only as yummy as you make it!

Are YOU a Killer Bee?

bee my guest?

bee my guest?
Howdy Beezers! I'm excited to share something new with you... Over the upcoming months, most of the content you'll be seeing here will be from special guest contibutors! This is sure to add a new texture to this thing we've been weaving over the years. I know that many of my readers (yes, you!) are writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. PLEASE feel free to contact me if there's something you'd like to contribute! I'd be most honored to pollinate... send me a note: m.mckinley@rocketmail.com

please be seated

June 24, 2009


June 23, 2009


For those of you not familiar with Julie Powell's story, here's the Readers Digest condensed version...it started with a deep personal FRUSTRATION, that spiked an IDEA, which turned into a PROJECT, that inspired a BLOG, which spawned a best-selling BOOK, that has now been turned into a MAJOR MOTION PICTURE starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. I just finished the book [which by the way is an absolutely marvelous read], and I have to say that I can't help but feel Julie Powell's soul and love of butter, and am drawing some serious parallels....

A year and a half ago I was very FRUSTRATED professionally [okay, so I still am]. Blogs were really beginning to make news, not only for their sheer numbers but their growing popularity. I was on my way home from 7-Eleven after spending my last 8 bucks on Chicago cigarettes, and I thought "I KNOW! I'll start a BLOG!" An hour later, I had myself a blog. I named it "Killer Bees Make The Most Delicious Honey", based on a metaphor I'd thought of to be the basis of a BOOK I wanted to write. Then I sat on it for nearly a year, figuring out what exactly I wanted to do with it. The book went on the back burner, I wrestled up some talented friends, the IDEA eventually became a PROJECT, which evolved into a quartet of blogs, and now we're filming video for an EPK [electronic press kit] to try and sell it to television as a 4-host talk show! We have readers [or as Julie refers to them, bleaders] in Milwaukee, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, New York, Italy, and Argentina. All since we officially "launched" on January 1st. I'm kinda thinking WOW allot these days...

While it's unlikely that Meryl Streep will ever play me in a movie [but seriously, if anyone can, Meryl can], Stacey, Cassandra, Cherrie, and myself all feel like we're on the verge of a journey that's way, way bigger than the "personal growth" project we started with. I'm sure that when Julie Powell began her quest to conquer 524 recipes in 365 days she never dreamed that she'd end up with Amy Adams in her back pocket. She was just trying to maintain her sanity. But today her story is screaming in my ear, telling me to remember that life's possibilities are only limited by one's ability to BELIEVE.
I'm also strangely craving Fricadelles de Veau a la Nicoise...

To watch the trailer for Julie & Julia click here:www.julieandjulia.com/

For the blog that started it all, click here:

Julie Powell's Blog, click here:

June 22, 2009


241 North Broadway
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sat 10-6 and Sundays 12-5

When I first moved to the Windy City, Jeffrey Elliott became my personal ambassador to all things Chicago...and what a marvelous ambassador he was! I became a quick study of "city of neighborhoods". Understanding my love for Thai food and unique, upscale interior design boutiques [Michael likes tasty, pretty things!], he excitedly introduced me to his favorite Bucktown shop, Embelezar.

It was love at first sight. Owner Suzanne Rafestein has an impeccable eye for luxury accents, and when I heard several months ago [from her fabulously sassy Mother, BJ] that Embelezar was leaving Bucktown and moving to Milwaukee's Third Ward I was ecstatic! Sorry Chicago...

"Embelezar" is Portuguese for "to embellish and to become beautiful". Need I say More?

Suzanne's hand-picked global mix of furnishings, and cultural and architectural artifacts is top notch. Inside you'll find Asian painted cabinets, Venetian silk chandeliers, rich textiles from Turkey, India, and Philadelphia, suede journals from Brooklyn, Moroccan ceramics, Afghan rugs, Peruvian serving pieces, Maori carved stones, and the list goes on...

Suzanne is thrilled to be here in Milwaukee, and I'm personally thrilled to have her......won't you stop by and pay her a visit? Trust me, you'll be delighted you did!

June 21, 2009


Summer has finally arrived...
Few things say SUMMER to me like a stroll through a farmers market. There simply isn't a better opportunity than a farmers market to get the freshest, usually organic, produce. In addition to having herbs and vegetables harvested just hours before at your finger tips, you also get the chance to support local growers, food artisans, and craftspeople. I love win-wins!

As the season progresses you move from rhubarb, herbs, and lettuces to peas, corn, and berries, and then eventually onto the all the lovely squashes. An Amish pie? Heirloom tomatoes? Whether cooking is a passion for you or not, you still have to eat. Why not have THE BEST?

The Milwaukee area is peppered with wonderful farmers markets [see link at the bottom], and I just happen to have one 2 blocks from my house that's open from now until October 18th: SUNDAYS @ The Washington Park Senior Center 4420 West Vliet Street 11am - 3pm They also have some great local food vendors, and live entertainment...

This week our very own Cassandra McShepard lent her silky song stylings to the festive atmosphere and the rest of her Bees headed down to lend an ear and enjoy the cream of the crop!

For a list of Milwaukee area markets, follow this link: http://milwaukee.about.com/od/sportsrecreationhealth/qt/FarmersMarkets.htm

And for our Chicago readers, follow this one: http://chicago.about.com/od/artsculture/a/downtownfarmers.htm

And for everyone else, it's a Google World. Find your local farmers market! You'll nourish your body, and your local economy!

June 19, 2009


Since EVERYONE [and their Mother] is Facebooking, I created a Facebook fanpage this week. It's going to be a great way to spread the word about all 4 killer blogs, don't you think? If you've got a facebook account, then "become a fan" of The Killer Bees! C'mon. Everybody's doing it....

June 17, 2009


Since I'd been living in Chicago for 4 years, I hadn't experienced the pleasure of partaking in Milwaukee's Pridefest festivities for awhile. I'll tell ya, this town still knows how to throw down a festival! The fun started on Friday the 12th, with Jeffrey Elliott [on his birthday] driving up from Chicago for that nights headliner, the incomparable Cyndi Lauper. Cyndi was plagued by mic and mixer issues [someone may have lost their job....], but Cyn's a trouper, and gave us one hell of a show anyway. Thanks Cyndi, for always being there for US. We love you too!

The next day it was back down to the festival grounds where we enjoyed the excellent weather, and a stellar performance by the Bearapalooza Songwriter's Circle. The Killer Bees special guest in the following day's parade, Ron Morris , was one of the 7 diversely talented men who put on a terrific 2 hour set. You guys ROCK! www.bearapalooza.com

Bearapalooza performance photos are courtesy of Joseph Suarez!

The big wind-up unfurled on Sunday for The Pride Parade. I've been attending these parades since I was 15, but The Killer Bees entry [#36] was my first chance to be in one. And what a hoot is was! We got to meet allot of cool new people, pass out tons of blog cards and bit o' honey candy, and once again enjoy exceptional weather! My only complaint was the turbo speed in which it was all paced. There were several times I looked up from the crowd I was greeting with my basket of goodies, only to see the car was 2 or 3 blocks away! I kept hearing Streisand belt "Before The Parade Passes By" in a continuous loop in my head....

Special thanks to Wendy for driving Ron in her snazzy VW Beetle [whose name just happens to be Beatrice!] and to Bill and Gordy for being sweet enough to strut our banner. We couldn't have done it without you!! Killer Bee Cherrie Hanson snapped the following pics of us waiting in our cue, gearing up for our first ever parade down South 2nd Street...

To see more of the moments Cherrie captured, you can visit the new blogspot for her photography by clicking on the link below:

June 9, 2009

June 8, 2009


He Chose Pink, 1976
Anyone who knows me will tell you pink is my absolute favorite color, and always has been.

In all its glorious and versatile incarnations, pink rocks.
As a person who lives mostly by sensory intuition, I will testify that pink always makes me feel good when I see it, no matter what my current mood, or state of mind.

Pink speaks volumes to me. Wanna know what it doesn’t say? That it’s masculine.
Or feminine. Some things about our nature are just hard-wired…

At Adam Laird Elementary School in Santa Maria California, all of the children in Mrs. Cordero’s kindergarten class were very excited about the week’s big art project. She and her assistant would pour mixed plaster into 30 disposable pie tins, and then each of us would have our chance to place our right hand, palm side down in the gritty goo, making a permanent cast of our tiny handprints- a gift for our parents.

But before she commenced mixing the colorful powdered plaster and water concoction, she informed us that we could choose our own color: yellow, blue or pink. Surprise! I was the only boy in the class who chose pink.Putting all the ‘couldn’t miss it coming’ jokes aside I really doubt that I would’ve ever thought about it twice, or likely even remember the whole situation today, if she hadn’t asked me if I was sure. She was so concerned that she asked several times if I was sure. “Now Michael, all of the other boys chose blue or yellow, are you sure you want pink”? Geez lady, what’s the big deal?

At age 5 I had zero notions of color being gender specific. Everything in my bedroom at home was green .Eight shades of avocado to be specific. Though I doubt she did it consciously out of a desire to raise an enlightened child, my mother had spared me any brainwashing on the matter. On the other hand you can be sure my father had a definitive opinion of what colors were masculine or feminine. But he’d split by then, and therefore forfeited any rights to brainwashing.

Once my little pink disc of immortality had cured and been released from its mold, it was ready to be wrapped up and given with the kind of joy only a 5 year old can possess when giving a handmade gift to his or her parents. As best as I can recall she was thrilled by it. And nary was a word said about its color.

At age 5 we’re still fairly innocent beings. But for most, the sticky and complicated rules of the world have thoroughly inoculated us by 7. Unless you’re Michael Patrick McKinley. I was still pretty oblivious to allot of these rules regarding what’s masculine and feminine. Until one fateful morning in Mrs. Dolley’s 2nd grade class…

Once a week, Mrs. Dolley would write a list of 10 new words on the chalkboard.
We had to use each word effectively in a sentence, write these 10 sentences down on a piece of paper, and turn it in to be graded. Purely for the sake of literary drama, let me present you with a sample chalkboard list. Note that one of these words was on the list that day in 1978…


I loved school. By 2nd grade I was showing an accelerated aptitude for most things academic- accept math. I still detest math. I didn’t really have any “buddies”, but I was pretty social with the other children, and enjoyed recess as much as the next kid. Unless of course, sports were involved. Never was very sporty.

This day in Mrs. Dolley’s class started out just like any other. I dove right into my assignment, came up with the most clever sentences I could think of, and turned in my work promptly.

As Mrs. Dolley reviewed and graded our papers, the class quietly read a chapter in our books. The silence was broken when she started to giggle. Then the giggle turned into a roaring laugh. Contagiously, a few of the kids started to giggle too. After all, whatever Mrs. Dolley was laughing about, it must’ve been really funny. Then she made her announcement- “Class. Listen to what Michael McKinley has written for his sentence using the word ‘dress’! Michael wrote ‘I wore a yellow dress to school on Tuesday’! She could hardly contain herself long enough to make her announcement. She dug my grave deeper. “So are you a little girl now? Does Michael wear dresses to school”? The entire classroom burst out with laughter. Apparently everyone got the humor but me.

I honestly had no idea what was sooooooo funny. And I quickly realized that they just weren’t laughing at what I had written, but they were laughing at me. All eyes were on me, and all voices were laughing at me. I finally could take it no more and erupted in tears. I leapt from desk and bolted out the door. With tears streaming down my face I ran to the office and told the secretary I needed to go home, and to call my Mom right away.

The principal stuck his head out of his office to see what all the fuss was about.
After I was calmed down, he assured me that Mrs. Dolley would never say anything to hurt my feelings, and that I needed to be a big boy and go back to class. I protested, so he escorted me instead. No one called my mother, and Mrs. Dolley never apologized.

At recess, while news of my gender-bending blunder spread like wildfire across the playground, Mandi Kent and Teresa Foster came up to me and told me they didn’t think what Mrs. Dolley did was very nice. While their words of solace were of some comfort to me, I knew that life at school had forever been changed, and indeed it had. From that day forward I would carry around the "sissy boy" stigma, with all the trimmings.

In today’s world, Mrs. Cordero would probably never have mentioned my choice of pink. And Mrs. Dolley would likely have been banned from teaching in Santa Barbara County. But that was the 1970’s, in a small farming community on the central coast. And Michael had no choice but to endure every miserable second of it. I spent my entire childhood plotting my escape.

Everyday, in every corner of the world children are still being picked on for being different. For being effeminate, too smart, too slow, poor, too fat, or too thin or not attractive by society’s increasingly impossible standards. In this day and age it seems ludicrous, but it’s a reality. Are children really cruel by nature? I doubt it seriously. But as a child it’s impossible to reconcile just how other kids can be so incredibly cruel.

If you have a childhood like mine, and you manage to emerge on the other end of it empowered, and not diminished, it’s truly a miracle.

That’s one of the beautiful things about growing up and gaining a few kernels of wisdom. For instance. I know now that God created all the glorious colors in the universe for each and everyone of us to revel in, and assigned not a single one of them to a specific gender. And yet we’re all trained early on that pink is for girls and blue is for boys, right?

Who made up these rules anyway?
And why, oh why are people still mindlessly adhering to them?

One of the most important things I’ve come to understand over the years is that if you’re paying attention, you’ll fully realize who you are, what you’re worth, and what you’re made of. You’ll also gain a much clearer perspective of the people who’ve touched your life in both positive and negative ways. The bullies of my youth are a huge factor in the equation of ME. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without those people.

Mrs. Dolley was a bitch.
And when given the choice, I still choose pink.

June 7, 2009


June 4, 2009

TREND ALERT: Honeycomb!

Is it mere coincidence, or are The Killer Bees already having an influence on global fashion? HA! The hottest tend in home decor is the honeycomb motif. The latest issue of House Beautiful has deemed it so. Textiles, lighting, furniture, and accessories. This classic shape from nature is everywhere.... We're SO chic!

Buzz Out!

Buzz Out!