Thursday, June 28, 2007

Miller-time at Miller Park, great invention, signs

Is there anything sweeter than hitting a walk-off homer in a stadium that shares your surname? It's stories like this that make baseball great. The Brewers' backup catcher is an aging veteran and native son of LaCrosse, Wisconsin named Damian Miller. Damian's a solid ball-player. He's past his prime but he's a reliable back-up. The fans generally like Damian, but I'm guessing they don't sell out of Damian Miller jerseys at the pro-shop.

Every year, a sizable contingent of people from LaCrosse board several tour busses and travel to Milwaukee for a game on "LaCrosse Day." I'm not sure if it's the chamber of commerce that organizes it or some of the very many bars up there or what. Apparent, last year, Miller didn't start that game. Since we didn't have Johnny "Carne" Estrada last year, that means that Chad "shitty baseball player" Moeller started. That was a pretty big (though probably inadvertent) "fuck you" to Miller and the fans that came all the way down for the game. Apparently, this year Ned Yost got a few letters from fans from that area asking that he start Miller on "LaCrosse" day this year.

He was glad he did. On the one day of the year that one of the more prevalent jerseys in the stands was his, Damian Miller went 3-5 with 4 RBIs. The highlight though, was his walk-off 3-run home run in the 11th. Nice work Damian, nice work. That right there is the stuff dreams are made of.

[By the way, I love this team. How could anyone not love this team. Just look at these guys. They look like a bunch of kids on Christmas. Well, except Damian Miller. He looks like an old man on Christmas. Do other teams have this much fun? Do they laugh like this? Do they even like eachother like these guys seem to? Maybe I'm biased, but I've never really seen the Yankees acting like this after any win.]

[Also, look how tall Corey Hart is. And what is Geoff Jenkins doing?-- "c'mon ride that train..."]


They say that necessity is the mother of invention. In Milwaukee, I guess necessity has led to the invention of this:

You know, for those times when you have a bratwurst in one hand and, like, your newborn child in the other. Seriously, if I see you wearing one of these, and you have things in your hands, I will take your beer away from you.


Okay, one more thing. I'm venturing into enemy territory this weekend to watch the Brewers play the Cubbies at Wrigley Field. I will certainly be clad from head to toe in Brewer gear, but I think I'm going to make a sign too. I have a few ideas ["Bong Hits for Jesus" maybe?] but I haven't decided for sure. So what do you, my two or three readers, think I should put on my sign that would get me on ESPN? Oh, and it would be nice, although not necessary, if it was something that wouldn't get me beat up.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More Brewers stuff, and tips for effective bologna-detection

Ho-lee-shit do I have a case of Brewer-Fever. I just got back from the Brewers-Astros game and boy oh boy was that some fun baseball (my Brewer-fever is making me use childish sayings from the first half of the 20th century like "boy oh boy"). The Crew got off to an early lead with a two-run dinger by rookie-phenom/Robert-Downey-Jr.-look-alike Ryan Braun. The 'stros battled back and, heading into the bottom of the 6th, had a 4-2 lead on the Crew. But in the bottom of the 6th, the Crew opened up an inflation-fighter-sized can of wup-ass. Rickie Weeks drove in three runs with a tripple. Then, aging mediocre veteran Tony Graffanino added a two-run homer. But the crew was not done with the 6th inning yet. Johnny [Carne] Estrada added another 4 runs with a grand slam. Nice work Johnny. The Crew won 11 to 5. The Cubs also won so the Crew remains 7.5 games ahead in the NL Central.

This weekend, I will be following my Crew to Chicago to watch them battle the Cubs at Wrigley field. I hope I don't get beat up. But more than that, I hope the Brewers stomp the Cubs.


Speaking of not wanting to get beat up by guys that root for a different baseball team than I root for, I've been thinking about being argumentative a lot lately. As I stated in my first post on this here blog, I'm trying to stop talking about religion, politics or any other issue that people "feel strongly" about. You see, one of my biggest faults is that what I see as a "discussion," others often see as an "argument." I've only recently come to this realization. I will often be discussing a topic with a friend or acquaintance, and finding the discussion interesting and informative (or totally boring), and also be completely oblivious to the fact that the other party wants to rip my balls off. I'm not sure quite why this is.

For instance, the other day this guy on my Frisbee team was telling me that Alexander Flemming's father saved Winston Churchill from drowning, and in return, Winston Churchill's father put Alexander Flemming through medical school, enabling him to discover penicillin and that later, penicillin saved Winston Churchill's life. He told this story in a group and everyone else seemed to just eat it up. I was extremely skeptical. To me, this was a situation in which we should all discuss the story and try to determine whether or not it was true. So I said, "where did you hear that, in a forwarded email?" He didn't directly answer but assured me it was true--he had heard it from a reliable source and he had a history major and didn't have any reason to doubt it. I knew it was not true. It's not that I knew details of the lives of Churchill or Flemming that conflicted with the story. In fact, all I did know about either of them that might be relevant is that they did live at about the same time in about the same part of the world. But I have a finely tuned bologna-detector, and I thought it would be benficial for all of us present to know for sure whether or not the story was true. If you'd like to tune your bologna-detector, here is a rule of thumb for all of you to follow:

If somebody tells you a story that involves an extreme coincidence that could be used to underscore some sort of life lesson (i.e. "what goes around, comes around") the story is almost certainly bullshit.

Luckily, (or so I thought) I had my blackberry on me so we could determine whether or not Frisbee team-mate's story was true. I quickly pulled up and determined that the story was indeed a load of garbage. [By the way, how sweet is the internet? A decade ago we would have had to leave the issue unresolved. Of course, since I'm almost sure he heard the story via the internet, maybe bullshit was less pervasive a decade ago too.] I thought I was doing the Frisbee team-mate, and the group a favor by making sure they did not walk away from this round of beers with a bullshit "fact" in their heads. To me it was a discussion. It was finding and discussing information. But Frisbee team-mate seemed almost upset. And I don't understand why. Does that story lose something if you preface it with "I read this bullshit email forward that said..."? Does it matter who was right as long as we eventually found out what the right answer was? Anyway, having a functioning bologna-detector is both a blessing and a curse.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Summer Solstice Festival, Comparing Mustached Brewers to Non-Mustached Brewers, and more Showtime on Demand

On Saturday night, former roomie B and I met J&S at the East Side Summer Solstice Music Festival. It's basically a block party on North Ave. between Oakland and Farwell, on the "fashionable" east side. B was a bachelor for the weekend because the missus was in DC. I'm a big fan of these block party type festivals. I know Summerfest is the "Big Gig" around here, but I actually prefer these smaller down-town festivals. I think what I really enjoy more than anything on the planet is drinking beer outside. Call me easy to please, but if it's a nice night and I'm outside with a cold beer, I'm a happy man. We mostly just hung around, listened to some bands, watched some guy juggle stuff that was on fire, and listened to J's fiance tell me that I'm sexist. Good times were had by all.

I went in to the office during the day on Saturday. One of my bosses, who is a big Brewer fan, was there as well. We got to talking about how the current Crew would stack up against the '82 squad.

[By the way, is anyone else around here getting a little sick of this 25th anniversary of the 1982 AL Champion Brewers thing? It's everywhere. Vintage commercials, promo DVDs, bobblehead dolls of the '82 squad... I mean, it was a great team and all, but we LOST the '82 World Series for Chrisake. I realize that this is all the success the Milwaukee Brewers ever had [so far], and that it's not as much about the record as it is about how the mustached personality of the Crew reflected the beer-bellied culture of the city, but let's start concentrating on this year's team.]

So the boss was pretty sure that the '82 squad and their mustaches were measurably better than the 2007 Crew. He noted that they hit an insane amount of home runs. I replied that we've hit more dingers than all but one other team in baseball right now and we're in the National League. He mentioned the rotation anchored by filthy mustached pitchers Vuckavich and Caldwell. I replied that we have like 8 guys on our team that would start for most teams in baseball, and a solid ace in Sheets. He mentioned mustached reliever Rollie Fingers. I responded that numbers-wise, Cordero is better. He mentioned that 82 defense, with Yount at Shortstop and Molitor at second. I... had to concede that one.

Anyway, I decided to consult the ol' baseball almanac to see how the offense on the current roster stacks up against the 82 squad. To begin with, as I'm writing this, the Crew is 43-32. The '82 squad was 42-32-1 after 75 games. So that's slightly better. I just looked at offensive stats for the top 8 starters for both teams since the 82 team was in the American League and it doesn't seem fair to compare a pitcher-less offense to one with a pitcher.

The Mustached squad of Ted Simmons, Cecil Cooper, Jim Gantner, Paul Molitor [the only non-mustached player on the team, presumably clean-shaven to facilitate his cocaine use], Robin Yount, Ben Oglivie, Gorman Thomas and Charlie Moore hit for an average of 282, an OBP of 337, SLG of 462, and 186 dingers.

The non-mustached squad of Johnny Estrada, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, JJ Hardy, Geoff Jenkins, Billy Hall and Corey Hart are currently hitting for a 288 average, a 353 OBP, 514 SLG and are on pace to hit 196 dingers.

I'm no mathematician, but this strikes me as a better offense. I should note that, due to my laziness, Ryan Braun's projected home runs in this model are only 11 because I used the same multiplier I did for the rest of the team even though he's hit 5 in like just 23 games rather than in the 75 games or whatever. I think, realistically, he could hit 20 or 25. It's also interesting to note that the average age on this team is like thirteen or something.

I've been watching a lot of Showtime On Demand lately because [the pricks at] Time Warner Cable gave me six months free. I just watched Season 1 of Dexter. That is one messed up television program. The plot of the show is that the dude from Six Feet Under is a serial killer, but as a child, his step father realized he was fucked up and sort of taught him how to manage his little problem. So Dexter lives by this "Code of Harry" under which he kills people, but he only kills killers. He works as a forensics analyst specializing in "blood spatter analysis" (is that a real job?) for the Miami police. It's a pretty good show. From the very get-go, I told myself "there is no way they can make me like this character." But they did. Which kind of freaks me out. There are some very serious plausibility issues going on in the show, but overall, it's entertaining and different. And the Six Feet Under dude plays "creepy" very very well.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The view from Section 408

Last night I attended the baseball match between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Kansas City Royals. The Crew spanked the Royals 11-6.

(By the way, it should be imminently clear from the amount of page I've dedicating to the Crew of late that I got me a serious case of Brewer-Fever. I swear there are other things rambling around in my [little, pea-] brain right now and there will probably be a non-Brewer related post in the near future. Or at least a post where the Brewer references are only peripheral.)

Spur of the moment, some friends and I decided to go to the game. We showed up some time in the top of the first and went to the ticket booth.

Me: What's left? We need four together.
Ticket Guy: (pointing to the seating chart) all I have is deep left field or deep right field, 3rd level is $33 and 4th level is $13 tonight.
Me: Thirteen bucks? Done. Four in right field.
Ticket Guy: Are any of you students?
(All of us look at each other. Did anyone still have a student ID?)
Friend J: I am.
Ticket guy: (obviously on to us, but not giving a shit) They're half price for students tonight.

For $6.50 each, we gain entry to the park and head up to our seats in section 408. Not exactly the friendly confines of Section 228, where I normally sit, but it would do. Everyone in section 408 is a student. At 27, I am the oldest person there. Well, almost. Four rows in front of us sat a family. From left to right: chubby older son, Dad, chubby younger son (sporting a "Kid's Klub" Brewer hat"), Grandma (also sporting a "Kid's Klub" Brewer hat), and mom (who had a bit of a mullet).

Several rows up and to the right sat the biggest douchebottle in the stadium. He was wearing a Nomar Garciaparra Cubs jersey. Did I mention that this was a Brewers-Royals game? So, like, the Cubs weren't playing... And did I mention that Nomar Garciaparra isn't on the Cubs? What's with people wearing jerseys to games were the team represented on the jersey isn't even playing? I can understand if it's a little kid that doesn't know any better and has really bad parents, but come on. There was also a Red Sox guy sitting in section 408, but he was largely left alone. Also, as to be expected, there were a handful of Royals fans scattered about.

As you might imagine, given the demographics of section 408 and the amount of beer available, conflicts were erupting all over the place. Nomar was the primary target, but one Royals fan made his mark too. Pretty much everyone was using extremely foul language, which seemed to bother the family four rows up. I didn't have a ton of sympathy. We were sitting in the middle of a section geared towards college kids. Drunk one's at that. Just as you should expect to hear naughty words in the student section at Camp Randall (Point: "Eat Shit!", Counterpoint: "Fuck You!") so too should you expect to hear naughty words in section 408. The family endured the atmosphere for about 5 innings. But some time in the 6th, things got particularly heated between Royals' fan and the guys sitting behind us. Royals' fan started flipping all of us off and stating "fuck all of you and fuck the fuckin Brewers" or something brainy like that. Kid's Klub Grandma had had enough. She got out of her seat and grabbed Royals' fan by his collar and "escorted" him down the steps while giving him an ear-full of Grandma wisdom. And the crowd goes wild. "Here we go Grand-ma here we go!"

As for what was going on on the field... Ryan Braun showed that he is the real deal, going 4 for 4 with a dinger and a double, outshining the Royals' rookie at 3rd base, Alex Gordon (who also had a good game). Cory Hart hit another dinger. Royal-turned-Brewer Jeff Suppan got the win over Brewer-turned-Royal Jorge de la Rosa. Ned left Soup in a little too long again, but it didn't really matter. Villanueva came in to pitch two scoreless innings and turn it over to Turnbow and Wise. Nice game guys.

Additionally, it was Mike Caldwell bobblehead night, so all fans received a bobblehead doll of the filthy pitcher (but not the filthiest pitcher on the squad) from the 82 team that won two games in teh World Series against the Cards.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Prince Fielder in the [fake] News

A headline in The Onion (America's Finest Newspaper) Sports section reads:

This is of course a reference to the actual Prince Fielder in-the-parker I mentioned here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Are you even supposed to eat Chorizo like that?

If there's one thing we love in Milwaukee, it's sausage [insert gay joke here]. Given that Milwaukee was built on the backs of immigrants from some of the finer sausage-producing nations on Earth, we embrace just about any variety of meat, animal fat, herbs and spices packed into a natural or synthetic casing. If you are in the city limits, you're probably within spitting distance of a place that will sell you a bratwurst, an Italian or a Polish. Lately, due in large part to its addition to the Klement Sausage Race at Miller Park, chorizo has been making it's mark.

[By the way, I adore the sausage race at Miller Park, but I think it's getting dangerously close to "jumping the shark." The first incarnation of the sausage race took place on the County Stadium score board. It was a black and white video of three sausages (brat, Italian and Polish) running in place with the background changing to different Milwaukee landmarks while the theme from Chariots of Fire played. Obviously it was awesome. When I was a junior or senior in high school, they had live "actors" don sausage costumes, and as the scoreboard sausages neared the background shot of County Stadium, the "live" sausages would run out onto the field and cross home plate. This version of the race, like the full-cartoon one, was rigged. The "actors" would pump their arms wildly and appear to veer off course due to the awkwardness of the sausage suits and stuff, but nobody was actually trying to win. Again, this incarnation was awesome. By the time Miller Park was built, the scoreboard sausage race had been completely replaced by the costumed "actors." The hot dog was added to make four. The people in the suits actually started "running," seemingly with the intention of winning. This is not nearly as entertaining as it was when it was rigged, but still awesome. This year, the chorizo was added to make five, an excellent addition. Any way you slice it, five guys dressed up like sausages in borderline-racist, ethnic-stereotype outfits having a foot race in a baseball stadium is a fantastic idea. But here's where it starts to get a little lame. Now, according to an intensely annoying Klements commercial, the racing sausages have "names." Retarded names at that. The Italian sausage is named "Guido" and the Polish sausage is named "Stosh." Okay so far. I like that they're sticking with the borderline-racist ethnic-stereotype theme. It works, and it's really what the sausage race is all about. Sticking with that theme, the Brat should be named "Gunter," the Chorizo should be named "Jose," and the hot dog should be named "Jimmy." That would be great. Those names would adhere to a consistent personified sausage-naming theme. But noooo. The brat's actual, offical name is "Brett Wurst" and the hot dog's name is "Frankie Furter." What the fuck is that? Is that clever or something? But the worst one is the poor chorizo. His name is "Cinco," which I'm pretty sure is just Spanish for "five." Do the Klement's people only know the Spanish words for the numbers one through five and that's it? I don't get it at all? It's worse than (although remarkably similar to) the naming mechanism for the different sizes of Starbucks drinks. Terrible. Just terrible. Wow, that was a long digression.]

Chorizo is a Mexican (I suppose it was originally Spanish or Portuguese or something) pork sausage with chili-type spices in it. It's red in color and it's delicious. I'm not what you would call "cultured," but I was under the impression that the traditional method for eating chorizo was to sort of scramble it up or cut it up and, like, mix it with eggs or put it in a taco or something. I'm probably wrong about that. But what I do know it that the traditional method for serving chorizo is not to put it on a hot dog bun and top it with ketchup and onions and serve with potato[e] chips and a diet Coke. Yet this is what I got for lunch from the hot dog cart guy on the corner of Wisconsin Ave. & Water St. today. And it was outstanding. America is indeed a melting pot.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Baseball players are bad actors...

But soap opera stars are even worse.

When the Brewers were out in LA last month, Jeff Supan, Chris Capuano, JJ Hardy and Bill Hall filmed a guest appearance on a soap opera called The Young and the Restless. It aired today and it was totally ridiculous. Seriously, watch the clip. The best part is when Hardy says "She can warm up with me anytime." Nice face JJ.

I wanted to know why it was that four Brewers made cameos on the show. What does the Crew have to do with some crappy soap opera? Well, I did a little research and it turns out that The Young and the Restless takes place in a fictionalized version of Genoa City, Wisconsin. I thought shows like that all took place in LA and New York. Who knew? Apparently the dude in the clip (the bad actor, not the baseball players that are bad at acting) is running for state senate, and the lady that thinks Cappy is the "best left-handed pitcher in baseball" is either his retarded assistant or his retarded wife or something like that.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Little Boxes, Sports Bars and Crazy Packer-backers

My life over the past two months has looked vaguely like an after-school special. Instead of being about drugs or eating disorders, however, the after-school special of my life would be about TV and the Internet. I moved into a new [but very old] apartment in May. I decided not to get cable or Internet at the new crib. This was motivated partly by the desire to save money, but mostly because I wanted to be more productive. If I didn't have easy access to cable or Internet, the argument goes, I would go exercise, read books and talk to friends in person. After a month or so of idiot-box sobriety I broke down and called Time Warner Cable. At first I used it reasonably. A few shows here or there, checking my email a few times a day. But after a short time my downward spiral continued. On Sunday, I realized that not only does my cable come with 6 months of free Showtime. It also comes with 6 months of free Showtime On Demand. After three days with Showtime On Demand, I have two questions: (1) Why aren't all TV stations "On Demand"? and (2) Isn't Weeds the awesomest show ever?

I've watched the first two seasons in the last three days. Everything about that show rules. For those of you not in the know, Weeds is about a hot suburban housewife that starts selling pot in her affluent suburban neighborhood to pay the bills after her husband dies. Great concept for a show, no? The theme song, Little Boxes, is so catchy in an old fashioned kind of way yet so fitting for describing suburbia. The supporting cast it dominant. It's great to see Kevin Nealon working again, and Elizabeth Perkins should never lose the Emmy for best supporting actress. Both the kids are great too, and Uncle Andy is hilarious. And most importantly, I am absolutely in love with Mary Louise Parker.

Yowza. Normally I'm not that into brunettes that are 15 years my senior, but wow. She's also an awesome actress. So much of the show rests on Parker's eyes and lips, which she uses to show frazzled mom, no-nonsense drug pusher or really hot babe quite effectively. If you haven't watched Weeds, you should check it out. It may seem at first glance that Weeds is kind of like a Desperate Housewives equivalent, but it's closer to the antithesis of that show. It also might seem at first glance that Weeds is just stoner humor, and although Uncle Andy and Kevin Nealon's characters do provide plenty of stoner humor, that's really not what it's about either. It's more clever than that. It's more about the deconstruction of suburbia. The show sets up easy PTA jokes and pot cliches, but then takes them in a slightly different direction. It's hard to explain, but it's awesome. And did I mention that Mary Louise Parker is really really hot?

Isn't it ironic that I hit rock-bottom in my TV addiction with a show about drugs? [Actually, I don't think that is ironic. It's fitting.]


Last night I took a break from Showtime On Demand and watched the Brewer game at Zim's Sports Bar. Zim's is a prime example of the change in the ambiance of sports bars to a more grown-up atmosphere. Your classic sports bar has fake wood walls, pennants from the local team, PBR in a can, peanuts in the shell, vomit in the sink and a cigarette machine. In contrast Zim's features a more trendy atmosphere, clear views to several plasma TVs, leather couches, vintage black and white photos of local sports heroes like Brett Favre, Robin Yount (There are few things funnier than Yount in 1982 Brewer garb and mustache riding a motorcycle) and Al McGuire, and more interesting bar-food, drinks and micro-brews. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good old sports-dive, but I like Zim's a lot too. It's located in an old carriage house on Milwaukee St and still has the same brick walls and slightly sloping floor that once made it easier to wash the stables out at night. The front wall has been opened up with big windows that remain open in the summer. It's a good place to watch a game.

The Crew dropped the Giants with the help of a complete game from Sheets. Most of the offense came off of effective small ball played against struggling rookie pitcher Tim Lincecum. The Cubs and Cards both won too so the Crew remains seven games ahead in first.


In other sports news, Wisconsinites are thinking about the Packers even though it's June. Packer fans are a unique breed. Most people know that, despite the fact that they play in the smallest market in professional football, all home Packer games are sold out for the next 35 years or so. Dads put their new-born sons on the waiting list for tickets in hopes that the babies will have seats by the time their midlife crises set in. What some of you may not realize is that they actually sell out Lambeau Field for the intra-squad scrimmage. When some teams that play in big markets like Phoenix can't sell out regular season games, it's pretty impressive (or pathetic and delusional, take your pick) that the Pack sells out the Brett Favre vs. Aaron Rodgers QB match-up. We love our Packers like we love our children--not because they are good, but because they are ours.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Yo! That's some good pitchin

I just got back from the Brewers/Giants game. The Crew pulled out the win with the help of a solid sevenish innings from Yovani Gallardo in his major league debut. The 21-year-old was a little shaky in the first inning, but then he started kicking ass. He ended up giving up 4 hits for 3 runs. He also hit a double in his first at bat, complete with an RBI. N' bad for the first time out kid. N'bad at all. When Neddy pulled him in the 7th, we all got on our feet, and Yo deserved it. Prince and Corey Hart added a dinger each, and Coco added his 26th save (although it was a close one). All in all, it was a good game.

There were over 41,000 people in attendance tonight. That's fantastic for the Crew on a Monday game against a shit team. A lot of the reason was that it was little league night. In attendance there were like 14,000 kids in little league uniforms that resemble various major league uniforms. For the first three innings or so, I had no idea why there were all these little Cubs fans and Braves fans and Rockies fans running around at a Brewers/Giants game. Weird. It was like being at an all-star game that was shot with Professor Wayne Szalinski's shrink ray. Also, has anyone else noticed that kids are wearing their hair ridiculously long these days? (Did I just write that? God I'm old). Seriously, every kids had long ass 1970s hair. Where did they come up with that? They all look like that red haired kid on Different Strokes.

Okay, it's late and that's about all I have for you jerks tonight. But since I feel I owe you much more, I also have this clip for you (courtesy of [redacted]):

That clip right there is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Barry Bonds Sighting

In case you were wondering, I know for a fact that Barry Bonds had lunch at Cubanitas today. I'm not sure if he got that nasty pork sandwich they serve with gross horse-radishy mustard and a whole god-damned pickle on it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Baseball notes, Jazz in the Park, and Triumph at the Tonys [sp?]

The Brewers are looking like they're back on track, having won their last 4 on the road against AL teams. They take on the Twinkies from Minnesota this afternoon, and win or lose, it will have been a successful road trip for the Crew. I get to welcome them home on Monday when top Brewer prospect Yovani Gallardo makes his first appearance and takes the mound against douchebag Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants.

Meanwhile, after scaring me a little bit for the last few days, the Cubs reminded me that they are still the Cubs.

Nice swing Derek Lee. Nice swing. Can anyone tell me why Zambrano was taking off his pants during that fight?

UPDATE: Okay, we lost to the Twinkies 10 to 9. But we made a hell of a comeback, fought hard and made it a hell of a game. Plus, Prince Fielder hit an inside the park home run. And it was awesome (It's the second highlight at the link).

But enough about baseball. Last Thursday, I made my first appearance at Jazz in the Park at Cathedral Square. Jazz in the Park is a prime example of the adage, "nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd." Each Thursday, a jazz band sets up in Cathedral Square Park and plays. Thousands of people gather in the park, lay out blankets, drink wine, eat stinky soft cheese, enjoy merriment amongst friends, and totally ignore the jazz band that is playing. Good times, good times. Jazz in the Park usually proves to be a solid cross section of Milwaukee. People from all walks show up: old suburbanites like my parents, young professional jerks like me, bikers (both kinds), hippies, motleys, college kids etc. All of the groups geographically segregate themselves within the park similar to how they do within the city. But we all unite in ignoring jazz music and consuming unhealthy stuff. What a great city.

This was my first appearance at J in the P since a dreadful outing last year when I suffered one of my more embarrassing moments. Let me preface this story by stating that I am not a clumsy guy. Not at all. I waited tables for years and routinely carried trays of improperly situated glass wear extreme distances without incident. So what follows can only be blamed on some sort of evil trickster god. So at the time I was "sort of seeing" this girl. We'll call her "K." K is a young single mom, so she doesn't get out as much as most girls her age. She came down to meet my friends and I at the park. She showed up in this white skirt and top and she looked really hot. I told her she looked great and she remarked that it was an outfit she couldn't wear around her son because he'd spill on it. If this statement isn't a harbinger of doom, I don't know what is. We're all sitting around chatting, and for some reason, I'm drinking red wine [I almost never drink wine]. All of a sudden, I just dropped my glass. Nobody ran into me and I wasn't drunk or in coke-withdrawal or anything. I just dropped it. The glass hit the ground, bounced, and spun [in slow motion] in the air and splattered all over K's hot white outfit. Everyone's jaws dropped. I am a total Jerk. K was an extremely good sport about it, and I did send her flowers and a gift certificate for the cleaners the next day. The stain came out, but the damage was done. I no longer drink red wine in parks. Anyway, my return to J in the P on Thursday was without incident.

On the topic of unclassy things in classy places, I caught Conan O'Brien the other day and laughed my ass off at this clip of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog at the Tony Awards. Now, I don't know or care what the Tony Awards are for, but Triumph + no-name actors = gold:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Getting fit, campy sports flicks and being no-hit

I'm sort of an all-or-nothing exerciser. There have been periods in my life when I was in spectacular shape. I don't just mean that I was the proper weight for my height and exercised a few times a week. I mean that I was fit as a fricken fiddle. There have also been times when I was closer to fit as a Cello. This is one of those times. I competed in an Ironman Triathlon a few years ago. The few weeks leading up to that, I was a warrior. I was fast and strong and could go all day (that's right ladies, all day). I had been biking over 300 miles per week and running close to 70. I ran a solid enough race that I felt like I had accomplished something.

I haven't worked out since.

In spite of the complete 180-degree reversal, I'm really only about 20 lbs. fatter than I was. In the next two months, I am going to lose [most of] that 20 lbs. As of today, I've worked out 2 days in a row. Tonight at the gym, I weighed in at 189. So on August 13th, 2007, I pledge that I will weigh under 170 lbs.


As an inspiration for getting off my ass and accomplishing my dreams, I watched Invincible, starring former Funky Bunch front-man Marky Mark and the gay guy from As Good as it Gets. If there's one movie genre that I truly love it's the Disneyesque sorta-true underdog sports stories. This one centers on Vince Papale, a South Philly bartender that never played college football that overcame the odds and won a spot on the Eagles' roster after impressing new Coach Dick Vermiel at an open tryout. In real life, instead of being a bartender, Papale was a, um, well, professional football player in the now defunct World Football League. And there was no open tryout. But "Bartender becomes pro footballer after impressing upstart coach in open tryout" is a much better story than "pro footballer becomes more highly paid pro footballer after upstart coach's scouts notice that he's fast and good at football and arrange a tryout." [I have no idea why I just used the word "footballer" instead of football player. What a dorky word. "Dorky" is a pretty dorky word to, huh?] Anyway, Invincible is some good TV in my opinion.

Another movie in this genre that I love is Miracle, in which Kurt Russel gets a bad haircut in order to play Herb Brooks, and coaches a rag-tag bunch of college hockey players to an Olympic gold, on the way defeating the Soviet Union and winning the cold war or something. Perhaps my favorite film in this genre is The Greatest Game Ever Played. It's the sorta true story of Francis Ouimet, a young caddy who overcomes the odds to win the 1913 US Open against several top English professionals. This feel-good G-rated instant classic actually sticks very close to the real story. The DVD special features include a documentary from 1963 (50 years after the 1913 US Open for the mathematically impaired) that features the real Francis Ouimet telling the story. It's really cool. And man did those guys have some shitty golf clubs.


The Brewers dropped a brutal game last night, being no-hit by Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander. Nice show Justin, seriously, nice show. But shame on Ned Yost. My crew has these two aging infielders that bat like 210 or something. Having one of them in is like having two pitchers batting. So here we are in an American League park, and he plays both of them? And makes them the first two batters to boot! Are you kidding me Ned? Here is a tip: you know that dominating rookie you have that is batting like 320 with 4 homers in like 10 games [or whatever], play him! I love you Neddy, I really do. You seem to be good at relating to your young team. But maybe you should pick up "Coaching Baseball for Dummies" (I thought I was making this book up, but it actually exists. Heh.) or something.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Biggest Douchebag in Baseball

Today the Crew begin a three game series against the Detroit Tigers. Normally I have a soft spot in my heart for the Tigers. Historically, they've been one of the AL teams (along with the Cleveland Indians) that I sort of root for. But since the addition of Gary Sheffield, the Biggest Douchebag in Baseball, I hope that they lose every game. I know what you're saying. How can I consider Gary Sheffield the Biggest Douchebag in Baseball when there are so many prominent douchebags in the game today--Bonds, Clemens, the Chicago Cubs etc.? I honestly believe that Sheffield beats all of them in pure douchebaggery. Even Bonds.

I realize the Gary is a pretty good player. The man is 7th in hit-by-pitches amongst all active players for Chrisake! That's some good baseball. My distaste for Gary obviously began back in the late 80s when he gave our franchise a glimmer of hope and then crushed it based purely on his bad attitude. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's when premadona players refuse to play for the team that hired them. That kind of highhorseocity ruins the game. It's even worse when the team they're screwing is my team. But, as Gary showed us last week, there are many other reasons we should all consider Gary Sheffield a douchebag:

On playing in Milwaukee:

The Brewers brought out the hate in me. I was a crazy man ... I hated everything about the place. If the official scorer gave me an error I didn't think was an error, I'd say, 'OK, here's a real error,' and I'd throw the next ball into the stands on purpose.'

On packing heat:

It ain't changed because I got in the league. It just made me get more of them.

On teammate Shawn Green missing a game with the Dodgers because of Yom Kippur during a crucial pennant stretch:

Religion is an important thing as long as you worship the right God.

On whether he would represent his country in the World Baseball Classic:

My season is when I get paid. I'm not doing that...I'm not sacrificing my body or taking a chance on an injury for something that's made up. This isn't the Olympics. That's a big difference. This is something you made up.

And of course there's this:

I called it years ago. What I called is that you're going to see more black faces, but there ain't no English going to be coming out. ... (It's about) being able to tell (Latin players) what to do -- being able to control them. Where I'm from, you can't control us. You might get a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end, he is going to go back to being who he is. And that's a person that you're going to talk to with respect, you're going to talk to like a man. These are the things my race demands. So, if you're equally good as this Latin player, guess who's going to get sent home? I know a lot of players that are home now can outplay a lot of these guys.

Also, his wife was on an R. Kelly sex tape. In conclusion, for all of the reasons cited above, Gary Sheffield is the Biggest Douchebag in Baseball.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bowling at the Skidmark

You may not know this about me, but I'm often referred to as the Ernie McCracken of Milwaukee. I had the chance to show off my bowling skills on Saturday night at Landmark Lanes (affectionately referred to as The Skidmark). After grilling some venison burgers at B & C's place, and then witnessing Francisco Cordero tragically blow his first save by allowing 4 runs in the 9th and a 4-3 loss for the Brewers (*tear*) nobody was feeling the bar scene. Bowling at the Skidmark seemed like a great idea. We met up with some dentists-in-training that B went to college with and threw a few games.

The Skidmark is a pretty awesome bowling alley. Going there is a little like going back in time. It's very old-school. There's no automatic scoring, so you need to have at least one person with you who paid attention for that week in high school gym class. I'm pretty sure the balls and shoes haven't been replaced (or cleaned) since the 1970s, and best of all, I don't think they've raised the price of beer (or cleaned out the lines) in that time either. They have a ton of different beers on tap at three different bars too. So we ordered a few pitchers and got started.

Remember two paragraphs ago when I claimed I was good at bowling? That was a complete lie. I bowled a 74 in the first game. In the second, after informing the rest of our group that I had been playing bad on purpose in the first game in order to hustle them, I led off with a pair of strikes Ernie McCracken-style. I then proceeded to play like garbage, dan-style. I ended up with a 120 or so. Somewhere in the 8th or 9th frame, one of our group members got his ball stuck in the gutter. He told the dude at the front desk who promptly came over, retrieved the ball, and essentially told us that we suck at bowling, stating "guys like you think that the harder you throw the ball, the more pins you knock down. Bowling isn't about power." Awesome. It must be about finesse. I'm all about the new and trendy drinking establishments, but sometime a bowling alley is the place to be.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Water Buffalo and Getting Old

After getting held up at work until 7:30 or so on Friday evening I was ready for a drink. The former roomie B, his fiance C and I (yes, I am a tremendous third-wheel) met J and his Fiance S (yes, all of my friends are engaged) at Water Buffalo. My cousin K and his wife S met up with us a little later.

As I previously noted, Water Buffalo is located on the corner of Water and Buffalo (duh). It's one of several new restaurant-type places springing up on the Milwaukee Riverwalk. Water Buffalo is sort of going for that "urban-industrial sheek" look. I have no idea what that means. I just heard it on Modern Marvels (okay, it was Trading Spaces) and thought it sounded cool... in a gay sort of way. Anyway, there was a nice view of the river and it was a lovely night. But there's one major problem: really weak drinks. It appears that the barkeepers have been instructed (probably by the fun-police, or maybe their manager or something) to carefully measure out all of their drinks. I would watch them fill the big half of the jigger, pour it into the glass and then fill the small half of the jigger and pour that into the glass, and then top it off with Redbull or Coke. Or in C's case, pineapple juice. Now if I'm not mistaken the big half of a jigger is supposed to be a 1.5 oz. shot and the small half is a 1 oz. "pony" making a grand total of 2.5 oz. of booze in my drink. That doesn't strike me as a weak amount of booze. So my question then is "how much booze are other bartenders putting in my drinks?" Or alternatively, "is Water Buffalo using child-size jiggers?"

After Water Buffalo, we moved the party to a different bar. Shortly after we arrived, a really hot chick called out my name. I had no idea who she was or how I knew her at first. But then it dawned on me that I worked with her at this restaurant about 5 years ago. At the time, I was a 22-year-old waiter and she was a "busgirl"and I thought she was like eleven. She must have actually been older then eleven at the time (because of child labor laws and all), but either way it made me feel really old that (1) she was at the bar, and (2) I thought she was hot. That second one made me feel a little creepy too (although I think in actuality she's only about 6 years younger than me, so not that creepy). Anyway, I'm getting old.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


This week is "downtown dining week" in Milwaukee. About thirty different restaurants are offering three-course meals for $10 at lunch and $20 at dinner. It's a great opportunity to check out several nice restaurants for like half the cost. Tonight, the former roomie, his fiance and I took the opportunity to have dinner at Kilawat. Yes I am a total third-wheel. No, I did not spell the word "kilowatt" wrong. (The name of the place is actually spelled using an ampersand where I put the first "a" but blogger won't let me type it that way without making it an email address. Lousey blogger). It's located on the corner of Kilbourne Avenue and Water street. Get it? Kilbourne at Water => Kil @ Wat => Kilawat. (Coincidentally, I'll be going to a new place called Waterbuffallo tomorrow. It's located on the corner of Water St. and Buffalo St. I assure you that not every restaurant in Milwaukee is named after the street it sits on. But now that I think about it, most of them are. The Mason St. grill is on Mason St. and the Water St. Brewery is on Water St.... I digress).

Kilawat is a sort of trendy [read: it has table clothes and unconventionally shaped drink glasses]place in the Milwaukee Center building. Our downtown dining week options included braised short ribs or shrimp risotto. Although I didn't know what risotto was, I ordered it anyway. I'm all about trying knew things. It turns out that Risotto is a lot like Golden Crisp cereal (Remember Sugar Bear? "Can't get enough of that Golden Crisp, it's got the crunch with the punch.") when you let it sit in milk too long, only awesome and tossed with shrimp and asparagus. It was delightful. I also had a dominant Caesar salad and a root beer float (I'm classy, what can I say?). The former roomie got the short ribs, which were allegedly good as well. I definitely plan on returning to Kilawat. It's primarily a small plate dining place so the three of us decided we would return at a later date with reinforcements so we could sample a bunch of stuff.

After dinner, the three of us had a cocktail and watched the Spurs beat LeBron James at Clear. Clear is another trendy bar, also located in the Milwaukee Center building. The shtick at this place is that everything is... wait for it... clear! I'm usually a Jack & Coke kind of guy, but I made do with a vodka tonic. When in Rome, right? It was reminiscent of that trend in the early 90's when companies were making clear versions of their products to create an image of purity. Actually, an Absolute and Crystal Pepsi and a little Van Hallen music would have made for a perfect end to the evening...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Here We Go Brewers

Here we go. I attended the baseball match between the Cubs from Chicago and YOUR MILWAUKEE BREWERS at Miller Park last night. The Crew held on to beat the Cubbies 7-5. It was a great game. Highlights include both Corey Hart and Tony Graffanino hitting dingers in the same inning (Vegas odds: 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000), Robert-Downey-look-alike Ryan Braun adding another homer in the 5th, and Ned Yost actually managing his bullpen mostly effectively. Which leads me to the real highlight: Fransisco Cordero. This guy is simply amazing. He notched his 22nd save in 22 opportunities and lowered his ERA to .36. But what made this great was that extra "point one" in the "innings pitched" category that he added. Coco, who rarely comes in before the 9th, came in with two on and two out in the top of the 8th. We were down by 2 and Soriano was at the plate. Coco made short work of him, striking him out with four pitches.

Prior to the game, my friends and I went to a local watering hole called Long Wong's, which bills itself as "Milwaukee's only Chinese-American sports bar." The place is great. It's probably the primary pre-game spot for my friends and I when we don't have time to tailgate or the weather won't allow it. It's just like any sports bar, but add $.25 terriaki wings and crab Rangoon at happy hour. They also have cheap taps, Brewer gear, a shuttle to the games, a pool table and two bowling lanes. And I think we can all agree that Long Wong's Chinese-American Sports Bar is the best name for a bar ever, right?

Playing in Brew City

Another goal of this blog is to display all of the fun things I do here in Brew City, USA. There's this blog I sometimes read called Play in the City. Play in the City is a blog that is sponsored by and written by a young lady named Erin. The purpose of the blog is to highlight fun stuff to do in Milwaukee through Erin's exploits. I think the sponsor provided a digital camera and a computer or something. I read the blog because I really love Milwaukee and I'm always up for doing new fun stuff. However, every time I read one of Erin's posts, I say to myself, "I would have done that post... differently." Erin seems like a nice young lady and I certainly don't mean to insult her writing. I'm sure her style appeals to more people than will ever read this rag. But sometimes her posts just seem to miss the mark. Here is an example of Erin's writing:

"The Brewers season is officially underway! The first game is going on as I write this – which means I'm not there. After being at Miller Park yesterday and after having sold the tickets we originally had for the game, we just didn't want to try to get different tickets and head back there today. Plus, Opening Day is much more fun in a group – I'm not sure how much fun we would have had just the two of us. Penny and Carlo weren't able to go, either, so we all just decided we'll plan for it next year. Besides, we're having plenty of fun at home! We cooked fat free hot dogs on the grill for lunch and had a little picnic during the first couple of innings."

Keep in mind that the blog is sponsored by a group that promotes tourism in Milwaukee. Now I'm not suggesting that Erin should lie. If she doesn't like baseball, she doesn't like baseball. That's fine (in actuality that's not fine, there is something seriously wrong with people that don't like baseball but we'll save that for another post). But if I'm the guy trying to sell Milwaukee as a summer tourist destination, I'd probably want a baseball fan to write my corporate blog. I would also probably want someone that would grill some Usingers Brats or something on opening day. Fat free hot dogs? Seriously?

Anyway, Erin left Play in the City and VistitMilwaukee had a writing contest to determine who would replace her. I considered entering, but I didn't think I had time to commit to posting at a rate that is any more consistent then "when I feel like it." The three finalists for the job all write just like Erin. Here is an example of two sentences from the front runner:

"Most inland cities don’t get the perfect blend of city-life and nature’s charm as Brew City. St. Louis and Minneapolis are both great, but neither have anything comparable to the breadth and beauty of Lake Michigan and its neighboring park system—especially this weekend as multi-generations gathered at Veterans Park for Milwaukee’s free Family Kite Festival to share an afternoon of child-like amusement and simple pleasure.

Besides the awkward hyphen use in this run-on, I'm not sure that I would bring up the comparison of Milwaukee to Minneapolis in the "perfect blend of city-life and nature's charm" department. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Milwaukee and would strongly prefer to live here than Minneapolis. But let's stop kidding ourselves Erin #2. We dump millions of gallons of raw sewage in that lake for Chrisake.

Anyway, my point really isn't to knock these two birds. I'm sure Erin and Erin #2 are a lot of fun. But they've inspired me to do what they do, only my way (half-drunk and with excessive sarcasm).

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Fourth time is a charm I guess

This is at least the fourth blog I’ve started. Of the previous three, the first has been formally decommissioned, the second lies dormant at the bottom of the sea of bits and bites and nsfw images known as the internet[s], and the third is still up and running and, as far as I know, still captained by my able co-blogger. After hearing that I essentially threw in the towel on three previous blogs, you might be suggesting that I am not responsible enough to pen a successful blog. You might be saying, “Listen Dan, women, parties and your impressive career got in the way of your first three blogs, what makes you think you should write another one?” Well, I like to think of my prior blogging work as practice for what I believe will be my masterpiece. (Note: since I haven’t updated any of those blogs in months, I’m still out of practice, so let’s not consider the first few months of this as part of my masterpiece, okay?). And that is reason enough to start a new blog.

Another reason to start a new blog is change. I want to make some changes from my prior blogging work. For one thing, I want to stay anonymous, hidden behind a thinly-veiled pseudonym. That way the chances of A-holes from high school that I never want to see again finding this by googling me are lower. Also, most of my previous blogging was done with a political bent. When I was blogging politics, I was always reading other political blogs. This was stupid because then I would try to argue with the morons that wrote said other political blogs and then I’d get all ornery, and then I would weep for the future of this country. So this here rag will be decidedly apolitical. I will even throw in a little political misdirection here and there so that you will be totally unable to tell what my actual stance is with respect to issues like immigration and baby-killing.

I’m thinking that maybe the format for this blog will be similar to that of the popular television series, LOST. As fans of the kick-ass show know, each episode of LOST juxtaposes the present day struggles of the cast on the Island with a flash-back of one particular character off the island. Through the two stories, each episode provides insight into the bizarre happenings on that show, and also provides insight into the bizarre happenings of the show we all call Life. So my posts will alternate between current goings-on in my life and flashbacks to prior character-building experiences I’ve had. Just like LOST. Well, just like LOST if instead of featuring an ensemble cast of diverse people from various backgrounds overcoming obstacles on a mysterious island while at the same time overcoming their own personal struggles, it featured a guy that grew up in the suburbs and now sits at a desk all day. I also hope to sprinkle in some stuff about the news, movies, sports and books I pretend to have read and stuff like that.

Anyway, I hope you like reading this garbage.