Friday week in review

A Friday Haiku

First day of Autumn

Someone needs to tell Summer

Ninety-five? Really?

Edited to Add: Milwaukee reached 95 degrees Fahrenheit today. Broke the 1937 record of 92 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here we go, Brewers, here we go!

Only 10 games left and the Milwaukee Brewers are still in the thick of the National League playoff race, despite losing two crucial games that would have tied them with Denver for the final Wild Card berth and brought them a game closer to the Cubs.

Win or lose, if they make the playoffs or don’t, this is already one of the Brewers’ most exciting seasons.

For one thing, no one expected this (except us true blue fans). Every so-called experts predicted the Brew Crew would be cellar dwellars, battling it out with Cincinnati for last place. After all, they had that fire sale, getting rid of all their star players, except for Ryan Braun, and filled their roster with farm club no-names. The Brewers were essentially fielding a Triple-A team, or so the experts claimed.

Did the Brewers even see the script for this season? It’s doubtul because they immediately surprised everyone by jumping into first place in their division from the very beginning and didn’t let up until the All-Star Break. Not only that, they led the league in home runs, RBI, and several other stats. For a time, they were the best team in baseball.

In other words, this lowly small-town team of Triple-A ballplayers dared to disrespect the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs as well as the perennial playoff contending St. Louis Cardinals by beating the pants off of them.

And here we are, on the final lap of the baseball season and the Brewers are still in the thick of it. Second place in the division and still within reach of a Wild Card.

True fans couldn’t be happier and even if they miss the post-season, we can’t complain. They did more than exceed expectations, they knocked them out of the park. They’re a very young team and as they’ve shown, very talented with a lot of heart. They have fun and are just plain fun to watch.

Brewers tear off Erik Thames’ shirt to celebrate his walk off home run against San Diego in June 16, 2017.

This season was all about team-building and gaining valuable experience, especially on how to deal with the intense pressure of a playoff race.

Whatever the outcome of the season is, this team is no longer is a bunch of no-names. In a short time, everyone now knows Domingo Santana, Zach Davies, Eric Thames, Travis Shaw, Josh Hader, Corey Knebbel, Manny Pina (Lucroy who?), Orlando Arcia, nerd boy Eric Sogard, Keon Broxton, Brett Phillips with his 80-grade arm and they’ve put the rest of the league on notice. These guys are going to be contenders for many seasons yet to come.

It’s a great time to be a Brewers fan.

Weigh-In Friday

I’m up again by a couple pounds. Sometimes a little cheating is fine, but losing track of how much you cheated isn’t. It’s like trying to keep a mental tally of your finances instead of writing it down in a ledger, then veing surprised when you get an overdraft notice from the bank. “I could have sworn we had more money!” Our minds like to play tricks on us.

I take some solace in the fact that despite gaining weight, my fat percentage still went down and my muscle percentage went up.

The never ending edits

You’ve heard of the Never Ending Story? Well, I’m trapped in the never ending edits.

I would have hoped I was past the creation stage and well into the pokishing stage of my manuscript, but that isn’t the case.

As my editor side goes through my story to correct flaws in tense, fix passive sentences, and so on, my writer side is also going, “Hey! I have a great idea to add here! How about if…”

And it isn’t just one or two scenes the writer side is considering. It’s every crucial scene. New ideas for dialog, for subplots, and setting as well. Some minor, some major. Not edits, but actual rewrites.

Shut up, writer side, you aren’t helping.

Worse, now I’m worried I might have fallen down the research rabbit hole, that never ending time suck where you go to verify one thing only to have that topic lead to another topic and another and another. None related to what you started out researching, but all addictingly interesting enough to draw you in and hold you there. A prisoner to your own desire for more knowledge.

Help me.

The GOP wants to kill us

There is a lot of buzz going on about how scary the recent release of the remake of Stephen King’s It is. But there’s something even scarier on Capital Hill. It’s a two-headed monster called Graham-Cassidy and it wants to kill us all.

Millions will lose their health insurance. Many due to pre-existing conditions (which they say are covered but they really aren’t), necause the bill has no guarantees they can get coverage.

States that accepted Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, would lose their funding, but more importantly and scarier, there will be complete changes to how Medicaid is funded to all states. This is the GOP saying “Fuck you” to the elderly and disabled.

This is the worst of the Trumpcare repeal and replace bills yet!

Call your Congressperson. Complain. Give them an earful that we’re tired of their conservative bullshit. Save the ACA.

Unless you want to die.

TheRump wants to kill us too

If there is one thing this week has shown, it’s how much of a divide exists between the deplorables and the rest of the world.

The great orange turd addressed the United Nations in his own inimitable style. In other words, he appalled all civilized people everywhere with his ignorant and bellicose rhetoric, threatening to destroy another nation.

But not everyone was shocked or appalled by TheRump’s insane patter. On the contrary, my Twitter feed exploded with praise for King Cheeto. “It’s about time we had a real President who stands up for Murica!” They want him to destroy a nation. Any nation. Do they look different from us? Speak some funny language other than English? Kill ’em! Kill ’em all! They think going to war should always be our first option in negotiations. Diplomacy is for wimps.

It should come as no surprise the trumpettes admired his angry posturing, his childish namecalling, his chest pounding and threat displays and saw them as something to be proud of. And that’s why Hillary appropriately named them deplorables.

Currently reading

Last night I was digging through my To-Be-Read pile of books and came across “Weird Tales: The Magazine That Never Dies,” an anthology of short fiction that had appeared in that magazine over the years, edited by Marvin Kaye. I picked it up and started reading and couldn’t put it down. I’ve always enjoyed pulp fiction and Weird Tales had some of the best by some of the great writers of the day, like Ray Bradbury, H. G. Wells, Fritz Lieber, August Derleth, L. Sprague de Camp, Robert Bloch, Tanith Lee, H. P. Lovecraft, and Richard Matheson to name a few.

I leave you with a song

For your listening pleasure, a song with which to start your weekend and also to ring in Autumn.

So fell Autumn rain, washed away all my pain, I feel brighter somehow, lighter somehow to breathe once again

So fell Autumn rain, washed my sorrows away, with the sunset behibd somehow I find the dreams are to stay

So fell autumn rain

From “So Fell Autumn Rain” by Lake of Tears

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Opening Day brings new foods, beers

Today is Opening Day. It should be a National Holiday.

If you just said, “Opening Day of what?” please exit now.

Today, Miller Park will be jammed with people, the majority of whom don’t care anything about baseball; they’re there for the shenanigans and heavy drinking that goes on. 

It’s sad because to real fans, Opening Day is a religious experience, a special day, like Christmas. A day to celebrate the annual return of the greatest sport in the history of forever. 

The boys of summer have returned like the swallows to Capastrano.

We went to the last preseason game on Saturday, April 1st at Miller Park. We were among the first to see the revamped food concession areas.

Before this remodel, there were just a few “name” vendors in the mix. I can’t recall the names because they were mostly for the snooty food snobs, in my opinion. Those of us with families went to the generic food concession counters where we could get slightly overpriced hamburgers, bratwurst, Italian sausage, hot dogs, popcorn, and selected Miller Brewing Company beer products, as well as sodas.

But those stands, and those prices, are gone now (unless they still have some generic concession stands hidden away).

Now the have food provided by AJ Bombers (hamburgers), Zaffiros pizza, the Smoke Shack Barbeque, J Agave’s Tacos, Holey Moley donuts, as well as a whole skew of Wisconsin craft brew offerings.

We tried J. Agave’s Tacos. My wife and I ordered two tacos and two drinks. The price was what you would expect if you were dining out, not at a ballpark!  To put in perspective, last year we could have ordered a cheeseburger, a bratwurst, a Polish sauage, a chirizo, fries and sodas for four for the same price!

And the service? Well, I hope they were still working out the kinks, because we had to wait 15 minutes after we ordered to get our food. One problem is, although it carries the restaurant’s name, they still use a volunteer food service staff. 

They were disorganized and confused to say the least. One issue was the window to the kitchen was also the counter where the servers had to access drawers to complete the orders and make nachos. In other words, they were all on top of each other, getting in each other’s way.

As I said, it was a preseason game, so I can’t imagine what kind of bedlam there will be for a full house, especially a standing-room-only Opening Day crowd. Seems like a disaster in the making. 

When we did finally get our order and made it back to our seats, the tacos were going cold. It was then I realized how messy a taco was to eat without a table, trying to balance everything in your lap.

And to be honest, I’m not a foodie, so all those contrasting flavors–spicy and sweet–probably work in a situation where I’m there to concentrate on the food and dining experience, not while I’m trying to satiate my hunger while yelling at the ump for a bad call.

So I was disappointed, to say the least.

Baseball was the last major league sporting experience that was still affordable to the average family. Now however, Miller Park, in revamping the food experience, has taken that away from us.

I don’t know why they felt it was necessary to do so. Most hometown fans were quite happy with the food selection and the prices. Milwaukee is a city known for searching for a bargain. We like tradition. The revamped food area is neither. 

Maybe they’re trying to lure a whole new crowd, one that isn’t there for baseball, a bunch of yuppies who want some sort of foodie “experience.”

That would also explain the game show host-like idiot they had on the Jumbotron during every lull asking trivia or playing some other sort of guessing game with a fan contestant for a chamce to win prizes.

I found it intrusive and annoying. 

If they want to do that silly shit at football or basketball games, have at it, but leave baseball alone.

Real baseball fans don’t need all that distracting shit to “enhance” our experience. Nor do we need any fancy foodie crap. Just give us some peanuts, popcorn, and cracker jacks and we won’t care if we ever get back.

Stop ruining baseball.

At least they haven’t replaced the Klement’s Racing Sausages

But baseball is back! And despite a long-winded rant, I’m happy.

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