Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Brew Crew notes and fun in Milwaukee

There is another Brewers trip scheduled for next Wednesday night with the Mets. But first some memories of a few of the trips I took up there with friends. Marty M and Dino are traveling in my old Toyota Tercel. And then on the other side of 94 is a horrible sight. A truck is flipping out of control on the highway. It was stinking scary. And wonder of wonders, a big dog comes racing out of the truck and starts racing down the highway. Once we escaped this horror scene we engaged in some make believe stories. Like the dog (Rin Tin Tin?) was saying, "Get me the hell out here. This guy is a crazy driver."
What was that dog thinking anyway? Sure, it wanted to get away but was it really going to out-run cars going 60 miles per hour?
Second story. Dave and I ride up in my Mercedes. This was soon after my divorce. I was not in the best of moods. It was a terrible day outside so we sat in the Mercedes and drank our beers. After about two brews, a cop on a motorcycle came next to us and told us to get in the stadium. Sure, pal, now take a hike.
On the third beer, the cop came back. He was averaging two miles per hour on his cycle checking things out. Get this, as soon as he got my car, he slowly turned his head away from us. I swear it. Dave and I entered the game in the 5th inning. There was no score. The game got exciting once we sat down.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How to live to be 100 years old

While I was wasting my life at the Voice of America, I heard an interview on tape of some Russian explaining in broken English how he lived to be 100 years old. "Yogurt and whiskey,'' he explained.
I had to laugh.
Study the woman in the photo. That's my grandmother photographed in around 1995. It's in her apartment in Maryland. Based on that year, Grandma was 94-years-old. She still had plenty of life in her. A year later, she got herself on an airplane and flew to our wedding in Illinois. She even danced at the wedding at 95 years old. At 96, she flew by herself again to Switzerland to visit relatives.
Heck, most folks are dead by this time. Dead and buried. But not Grandma. Now what was her secret? She ate sparingly and loved fresh fruit. She drank even less having an occasional glass of wine. Grandma loved to say that if you have your health, you have everything.
That was true. Who wants to live with pain and misery? Well, like everyone, Grandma did get older and one day fell down. She made the usual trips to rehab and then it was decided she would move to a nursing home in Lake Zurich. That's where she celebrated her 100th birthday. I'll be honest, she didn't get really old until she made it to 101. She was able to see two of her great grandchildren grow up a little. She outlived both her husband and son so that was hard for her. She was really a great grandma to have.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The last concert?

I can recall traveling to day care with a very young Brady. That's close to 12 years ago. And to entertain him, I had a Buzz Lightyear and Toy Story CD playing. We were moving along when the CD moved on to some instrumental music. And then Brady started wailing. What's wrong, I thought. Brady told me that Buzz was in trouble. Huh? There were no words to that effect. He wasn't happy though.
I was talking to my friend Eddie about that incident. Eddie told me that Brady had musical memory. Our first child was able to tell what was going on in the movie just by the music in the background. Wow!
And maybe that's why he hangs on to the violin. Anyway, the so-so pictures here are of Riley's farewell concert. He was handed the viola and told to follow in his older brother's notes. Simply, it's not his cup of tea. He wants out. Nothing personal but he just doesn't like to play an instrument.
What's my musical history? I listened to a record player when I was young. It never came up. Between Little League baseball and watching television, I never picked up an instrument to play it. I wonder what happened. I did make up for it by buying all those records, tapes and CD's.

Monday, May 9, 2011

On Hate Mail

And what was awaiting me when some nut case cut and pasted one of my articles?
Here it is:

Seriously if you were any more of an arrogant dick to people you'd be blocking out the sun with your schlong sized big headedness. The worst part is you are offensive and not even subtle about it to people. Oh look at me I used to work for the Baltimore Orioles...who gives a crap seriously? And now you aren't it was like decades ago according to your profile and you brag about it like it was two days ago and act like you are doing kids some huge favor by gracing them with your presence. You must think people are really stupid. People are on to you. Next time someone gives you an uncomfortable laugh when you are talking to them it isnt because they are laughing with you it is because you creep them out.

Of course I didn't reply angrily. But reading it again there is clearly some interesting observations. Let's be honest, I am still proud that I worked for the Baltimore Orioles. Yes, that job had its ups and downs but it helped me grow up a little.
How about that last sentence? "someone gives you an uncomfortable laugh." Do people really laugh when someone is creeping them out?
The good news here is this really didn't bother me. I suppose that's a sign of getting older. It's important to gain a thicker skin as we move on in life. But the question does come up. Why would someone send a letter like that? Why on earth would you be so mad at a stranger? It's still an odd planet we live on.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My first true love

No, I'm not talking about that girl from the East. I think I was crying at the time when my older brother announced that we should abandon the losing Washington Senators and take on that improving club from Baltimore. Now, Dec. 9 is a holiday in my world. As in Dec. 9, 1965. That's when the Orioles dealt a fine pitcher in Milt Pappas, reliever Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson to Cincinnati for an "aging" outfielder named Frank Robinson. The short story version is Robinson was with the Birds for six seasons. In four of those years, the Orioles went to the World Series.
I was hooked for life. And then came my chance to work for my favorite team in the world. I was an Orioles employee selling group and season tickets for fans in the DC area. My first year working for the team, the Orioles won another World Series title. I was in the World Series parade in Baltimore. And then the winning stopped. I would get drunk at Orioles parties, and tell folks who would listen, that I wanted to be a writer. OK, it wasn't the greatest job ever but I had plenty of memories to take to the Chicago area.
And ever since our Brady was born, 13 years ago, the darn team hasn't posted a winning record. That of course is disgraceful.
Three boys in this house here are named after former Orioles players. And not one of my boys have adopted the Orioles as their favorite team. But who can blame them?
I'm an Orioles fan for life.