brewers baseball and things


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day night and day

I have two TV’s,  so I guess in terms of world wealth, I am terribly spoiled. One of them is flat screen and that’s where I watch all the baseball games and movies. The other one is so old that it has one of those VHS bellies built into it. I keep it because I have some Brewer games on tape that are not available on You Tube like that game from I think 2005 when Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks both hit their first career home runs.

And that old TV freaking exploded Saturday morning. Thank goodness I reacted quickly; wrapping my arms around my head like Egyptian Mummy strands avoiding what I thought were going to be  flying shards of TV tube, but it was just a dream or I guess a nightmare, but what a loud BOOOOM and bizarre way to wake up on Sa-Turds day. The TV suddenly looked like a still and very peaceful Buddha.

The Brewers almost came from behind in the 9th to beat the Cubs Friday night. Lots of home runs too which may be like an uncivilized messy burger at a greasy spoon to some, but I like greasy burgers at local greasy spoons every once in a while and I ate one of those Saturday and well, the Brewers win when they hit home runs; always did and maybe always will. I like the fight in their fabric this past week.

The subway car is always something to exit; slipping through those Star Trek swooosh doors into an inverted cathedral; the massive cement underground; the up and down escalators way more than myth or metaphor with heaven and hell definite possibilities. I had a burger to eat and the Brewers another game to play. The afternnon passed and so did the evening. I digested that burger and by George, the Brewers beat up on the Cubs 12-4 with three more home runs; one of them the first in Jason Rogers’s career and heavens to Betsy it came as a pinch hit three run blast. Rogers looks a bit like Bill Madlock and he plays third base too.

The Brewers are 10-21 and I just saw a man wake up from under an evergreen tree.  He stretched his arms, yawned and apparently had a good night’s rest on pine needles and under the stars. Today is Sunday.

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Dave Courtland

Our history high school teacher told us politics were everywhere; like dog shit I thought, but never asked. I wish I had more guts. He defined them as people influencing people. I never liked politics, but there was Dave Courtland.

Dave never punched walls or drew attention to himself. He was more of a fly on the wall than anything else, but whenever the teacher asked him a question, he would say, “It’s all relative” and that pissed the teacher off.

Dave was one of my first heroes.

I think about Dave sometimes when I walk in the park and look at a tree. I don’t look very long and don’t say anything to the tree, but I admire the way snow lines the backs of its branches and resembles a skunk. Scares the crap out of me and when it’s windy and the branches begin to bounce and wave, they morph into long slender snake like legs. I run for the sidewalk.

Other times I look at the tree and take deeper breaths and think things to myself. I still don’t talk to the tree, but I don’t run and then I accept shelter as the tree’s gift.

I guess that’s politics and so is Aramis Ramirez. He claims to love the National League Central. He said so after signing a contract with the Brewers a few years ago. Who says things like that? Who likes to play in a particular division?

Drafted by the Pirates; traded to the Cubs, signed by the Brewers and will retire as a Brewer after this year or so he says. He didn’t have to announce his retirement in April; like Jeter; some sort of swan song departure party. A bit annoying and kind of a distraction to the team I would think. Why can’t players just say thank you and slip away?

Politics I guess.

Ramirez is kind old, so his knees bother him. He might make the HOF. He’s hit a lot of home runs; especially for a third baseman; maybe in the top 5 all time or if he doesn’t make Cooperstown he may be the fist inductee into the NL Central HOF if someone builds one.

He wasn’t in the lineup Sunday, but the Brewers beat the Cardinals 6-3. Michale Blazek got the win out of relief; his first ever as a Brewer and maybe felt extra good because he was traded by the Cardinals to the Brewers last year for John Axford.

On Monday, the Brewers threatened to win 2 in a row. The score was tied 0-0 after one inning against the Reds. It was exciting, but then Jay Bruce went BAM off Brewer ace Jimmy Nelson; a 3 run homer and there goes that idea. The Brewers did score four runs in the top of the 9th, but they were already trailing 9-2 making the final score 9-6 and their record now is 4-16.


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greek french fries

There she goes again; deconstructing his Santa Klaus. I order a carrot muffin and coffee and make McDonald’s 2nd floor the stop, for now anyway. It’s 7 am. People throw away dreams like they do garbage. Angry punks colonized the train tracks; sent the hobos away. Frying Pan Jack says so anyway.

The system is screwed up, but life is good. That’s what my friend at work says. I think he’s right. We talk about ham radios and starting up a show. The fact that he still thinks of radios as hams and not pod casts gets me liking him even more.

Meanwhile back at McDonalds, the she calls her boyfriend “emotionally retarded” and he calls her an “egomaniac” or maybe it was the other way around. I just like the lilt in their voices. Maybe they’re from Ireland or probably Saskatchewan. I don’t really care. I came for a coffee and muffin and got lilts as an added bonus. Puts a hop in my step as I walk back into the morning.

I instantly regret not wearing a camera around my neck like flavor flav’s clock. Three crows jockey for position on a tree branch. That’s entertaining, but the crows also have an agenda; to fight for the right to rule over a bee hive. These are the beastie boy crows I guess. I thought crows were smart birds. I only seen one dead crow my entire damn life, but these crows are behaving like my german shepherd collie dog with skunks. How many times before she learned?

The three crows then becomes two and after a minute more of flapping wings only one remains and it behaves like an oil rig, a pile driver, jackhammer pecking its nose into the bee hive; drilling into the mummified layers wrapped around and around in honeycomb.

For a split second, the crow resembled a chicken warming up innocent eggs, but violence and nudity took over; better forIMG_0466 the tv ratings. I made a b line to fetch my camera, but when I returned, just a bee hive remained; looking like a piñata; maybe honey comb fragments falling from the sky in the coming days; maybe bees set free. For now, The satellite and the bee hive; no crows in sight.

Reporters have been poking sticks at Ron Roenicke the piñata; to see if he explodes I guess or says the wrong reason why the fall from 1st place grace? Why such a total meltdown; not even a wild card to show for in 2014? Roenicke should be back for another year.

The outdoors smells like crab apples.Kids roll around in the grass; squash them and shoot mini sprays into the air. I like the fragrance. I like the way this smells.

Makes me want French fries and I don’t know why. Smells are like tree rings planted in our memories somewhere; aroused just like that; real suddenly. Our entire story could probably be told through smells. We should have collected smells in mason jars. Is that even possible?.

All I know for sure is crab apples get me wanting French Fires so I put one foot in front of the other and To the Greek Restaurant I go; a diner and leather booths. Always crunchy, but not dry on the inside; both the potato fries and the restaurant.

So many potatoes; Russet, Yellow, Idaho. A world of potatoes to do so much with like a chicken is a country. The chinese lady puts nothing in the garbage. Every part of that chicken goes in the soup or egg roll or Chow Mein. And I love the way she snarfs up a loogie and lets it fly.

Boiling chicken kills off germs especially if you have a faulty oven like I do. The future bowls of broth created are many; excellent for soups or cooking couscous and rice. Adds so much flavor.

A busted oven. A fight at McDonalds. Crows jockeying for position. I have to hold my tongue or put judgment in a vice because everything bad turns to good and everything good is already good.

The Brewers had an off day Monday; hovering like a piñata and looking kinda sexy at 80-76.


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forbidden fruit bursting up from somewhere

A few months ago I discussed my bathroom here or not my bathroom, but a weed growing outside my bathroom window. It was May or June and the weed was kinda small. I even took a photo and insisted that by August it would be bigger. I felt confident saying so because the same weed had been there over the last 5 or 6 years and every year it grows.

Well, it’s September and I took another photo and that sucker is not Jack in the Bean Stalk big, but wild just the same. It’s beries2growing in a land locked swirl rather than up up and away and as the new photo reveals, there’s some sort of berries on some sort of vine or not vine but whatever we call fruit looking globes on plants or weeds or whatever this thing is.

I’m unnerved a bit because I keep the window open, but have no intention of eating one of the berries and not only because my neighbor tells me they’re poisonous. There’s a screen keeping me from touching them and anyway, I could buy real gapes at the grocery store or not real grapes but known grapes as opposed to unknown grapes.

Yes, these are unknown grapes, but I like imagining all the people, all our ancestors who sacrificed their lives in order to boldly go where no fruit and nut eater had gone before. Someone had to try all these foods before they get packaged and marketed with cute little slogans, before kids sat in shopping karts and smiled.

These test tasters in loin clothes were my heroes, but the other day after noticing those berries or grapes or whatever they were for the first time, I got to thinking and well….I stopped dead in my thought tracks or whatever and realized something

There mighta been much less courage and sacrifice than I first thought. I realized this while watching squirrels. I like watching squirrels because for one reason they give me tons of attention.They make me feel like a gangster with a pistol and a bad attitude; a wild west gunslinger, a well respected fugitive.

Those squirrels scamper off in hyper dart motion when I so much as blink an eye. That’s some deep respect. Praises be to squirrels, but this is me watching squirrels and learning from them; learning what’s ok to eat and what not. This is what our ancestors musta done; watched their animal brothers and sisters and learned what to eat; what to not eat.

If they don’t die, I don’t die and whatever they forage from the garbage, my stomach can adjust. All our stomachs can adjust to just about anything I would think. This is the very reason I eat a triple whopper with cheese every once in a while …to keep my stomach in shape in case one day I have to survive on 99 cent whoppers.

I also inhale bus fume exhaust at least once per day. Keep lungs flexible. I don’t eat antibiotics for the same reason. Maybe vegetarian life and meditation is not such a great idea; too much perfection and often times too much crusade. I don’t like crusades; subtle or otherwise.

Outer space has all kinds of meteors crashing into planets; all kinds of destruction, all the time. Who really knows squat!

I was watching for squirrels outside my bathroom window to see if they would eat the berries, but I can’t stand here all day. I should get a surveillance camera like they use inside a 7/11 store.

I’d like to do the same thing for tree roots and watch them burst through cement year after year. People build new driveways and sidewalks and the trees and their roots always win. Holes, cracks, and fissures.

I like it when roots destroy cement. It reminds me of a movie I saw many years ago. Frogs invaded a southern mansion; one with a big patio. There were so many frogs that people drowned. It was horrific in a natural frog sort of way.

The baseball season is an old southern mansion to me. There’s creaks in the floor for some teams and damp, humid smells; rodents dying in the walls type of smells. But through the window is a swimming pool party and some teams look fresh and relieved.

The Brewers are contracting towards a .500 record like shutters of a southern mansion; 12 losses in 13 games…the closing of summer and arrival of autumn and winter and death and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz and Miami hit three home runs and scored 6 runs off Yovani Gallardo last night; all in the first 3 innings of the game. Final score; Marlins 6, Brewers 4.

The Brewers are 74-70.


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Dammit…crap and sucks but definite solutions

Leonard Cohen wore nice suits. I think he played guitar and wrote the old testament or maybe that was Bob Dylan, but without the suits and with way more hair; crazier hair. I didn’t know about either of them until my twenties. They didn’t teach us Cohen and Zimmerman in Hebrew school

I once had sex with a tree. True story. It was during a heavy Milwaukee thunderstorm. I love Midwest summer storms; arouses some latent Pan gene in my blood stream. There’s a rock and roll lyric. “Pan gene in my blood stream.” Does my own lyric require quotes? Beam me up a stuffy professor of the language police. Thank you Scotty. I like your twang.

Love of storms began as fear to me. I would race all my baseball cards into the basement; safe and sound it grew into the reverse of fear as the years went bye-bye. I guess reverse of fear would be screwing a tree or at least for me it is or was. I’ll skip the details, but it was enjoyable. I hope no one got pregnant.

I  learned to love beer, any kind of beer….inevitable i guess, being from Milwaukee. cliche, stupid, immature, childish, run through the jungle. Yes, that’s exactly it because the Midwest had no alligators or jungle but a hell of a lot of green; so much canopy cover hovering above suburban Milwaukee. I love that protection.

The West coast terrifies me with its scorpions and red granite rocks and open spaces; so exposed and naked. I need the green and  snow in the winter. It’s all a big blanket to me so I can suck my thumb from the crib to the gurney.

I remember landing in California for the first time. It was to visit my brother. in Oakland. He left Milwaukee after high school and never returned. His loss or gain. Whatever. The scenario rolled out perfectly like an equation to me. My love of beer plus peeing in my pants equals experimentation.

California had more open spaces and less green you see so there were fewer places to hop off the stage and slip behind the curtain and take a pee. Milwaukee has parks and all kind of bushes to disappear into like a phone booth and do the superman pee release. I ruined many 8 dollar jeans from Salvation Army and well, I carried the small of piss around with me. bad situation needing a remedy.

Maybe California is more civilized than Milwaukee, but I doubt it. Those gold rush boys were a rowdy bunch of swillers, swindlers and scrappers and there was probably a few peduncle heads like me who pissed in their pants. God love em.  Maybe Milwaukee loves drunks more than California. Maybe that’s it. Maybe California has a short-term memory. Anyway, what the hell do I know! I blab my mouth off but trust my own theories more than some stuffy text book recording.

Ok so there i was in Oakland….beside lake Merritt or up along Telegraph Avenue, shooting pool in Jack London or playing basketball in west Oakland. The experts told me West Oakland was no place for a dumb white boy like me; worst neighborhood in America and then in a whisper, they added…”it’s all black.” I’m no hero and no urban kid and not enlightened. I have all kinds of ignorant attitudes. I grew up in the suburbs, but I love basketball.

Anywhere I went in Oakland, there was no safe place to piss except inside a Safeway Grocery Store bathroom or in a bar, but I hardly ever go to bars preferring the 40 ouncer by the railroad tracks and day dreams of being a hobo.

I only hopped a train one time in my life; from Montreal’s West Island to Montreal’s Mile End; total travel time-15 minutes;  total distance-5 miles…but whatever ..I had achieved what Bukowski insisted on the back of my Train hoppers manual …”every red-blooded american has to hop a train and head nowhere at least once in their life.”

Meanwhile, back in California, I still had to pee so I pretended to be doing tai chi in the park; blending in with th enlightened vegetarian Californicators. It was the Piedmont neighborhood Oakland; upscale and clean, proper people on the surface. I love every neighborhood. Every place is a scene unto itself and Piedmont was perfect for tai chi

I didn’t remove my pants; just unzipped and let out a subtle pee while doing tai chi and hence, the birth of and this is deserving of big letters….Tai Chi Pee.

Desperate measures desperate times. The Brewers have lost 6 in a row and their lead in the NL Central. The Cardinals are now in first place and the red turds arrive to Milwaukee town Thursday. This is like Rosh Hoshanah clockwork every year. Gotta love it!

The Brewers are 73-64.


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get down brother

And then it happened.  The heroes of my favorite books became real. Sounds like a hallucination, but it’s not. Sounds like some misfit who recoils into misanthropy and cheap motels, blinking red neon lights and prostitutes and TV dinners with that lonely scrape of fork to aluminum, me and my fictional hero in the Green Gables; Anne and I; a 25 cent vibrating bed paradise, but it’s not.

The book is “The In Your Face Basketball Book.”  Ain’t no penguin classic. Won’t find it taught in schools. No hipster in a cafe spewing bad poetry will be reading it,  but the book remains the greatest most influential book in my life. The wisdom and humor and poetic fast break thrusts not to mention vagabond basketball jones map tales and of course, the pictures…am I gushing? Well slam bam thank you Queen Esther and Quincy Jones!!!

I mentioned the book the other day and Glen Slater of  Tall Tales and True Stories commented that HE WAS IN THE BOOK. That shit just doesn’t happen. I don’t trust people who say coincidence and I don’t trust people who wear sandals. Too relaxed. Makes me uptight, but then this? Someone I sort of know in my favorite book? I got Pentacostal shaking thru my veins. I believe in Maimonides all over again!

The clerk at Wax Stacks records on Milwaukee’s East Side used to tell me in his cocaine nasal accent. “I don’t buy shit. I only sell it.” That’s the story of capitalism, no? All this bullshit marketing and self promotion and how many god damn kinds of toothpaste do we really need? But then Glen and The In Your Face Basketball book. Jesus Chrysler. I believe again. Pass the chulunt.

Glen didn’t remember what page, just a few clues; in North Carolina, in a pick up basketball game. I raced to my shelf and finger rifled thru the book and there it was page 160, a cool looking dude dribbling a basketball with no shirt wearing a necklace, free flowing hair. unmistakable court general aka Danny Ainge in the fierce with handles and hops and instincts to run the point. Mo Cheeks….I took a picture of the picture and posted it.

Glen revealed the under belly reality behind the photo; the clumsiness on the pick up court; the photographer turning nothing into something, but who cares. This was big.  That was Glen in the flesh, in my favorite book. That shit just doesn’t happen.

It was time. It was bloody time to face my fear of shirtless and camera shy. There are 1o dollar toothless prostitutes in my neighborhood offering blow jobs. I always decline politely, but maybe I’ll ask them to snap a photo of me. They wouldn’t judge me for being sickly skinnny like I had just escaped Auschwitz and maybe I have. I’m lucky to have a real friend in this life.

We  went to Cap Saint. Jacque yesterday. Sounds like a fancy exotic place, but it’s just a dirty beach; north west corner of Montreal Island; a green brown looking lake, Lake of 2 mountains, more than good enough; minimal algae or whatever rubbing up our legs. Seagull lifeguards atop busted trees, lots of ladies in religious scarves, kids in the water, barbecues in the bushes and way too many carpenter ants, but not in the water.

That’s the real electric water; sprawls all the way to the Great Lakes west and St. Lawrence river east to the atlantic ocean. The big water. You can feel it. Energizes you. I swam out to the rope; not too deep; did some makeshift Kung Fu splashing. Get down brother.

P30-08-14_15.50My friend had a camera on her cell phone. Snap a photo, send it to email, download and thenP30-08-14_16.03 upload to wordpress and vanquish my fears in one shot; shirtless and no longer camera shy.

Picture one…pose of triumph. Picture two….pose of Aushwitz horror.  I feel vain and stupid, but a hell of a lot freer ; kicking those Nazis off my back and outta my mind.

Easier to cope with Brewers sucking up to Jake Peavy and his stupid 2,000 k milestone. The Brewers fell for a second consecutive night to Giants…3-1

The Brewers are 73-62 and fading, but not really. Cardinals are still a game out of first and they’ll be in Milwaukee next week. Time to get naked and splash and fight and kick the Cardinals ass; once and for all. P30-08-14_18.18[1]

Brewers lose, but that was a hell of an enjoyable day yesterday. One of my favorites in recent memory, Glen inside that book. Still shaking. That shit just doesn’t happen very often.

You can see some downtown Montreal in the background in picture three. This is after the swim and the electricity. That’s an authentic 59FIFTY New Era Expos cap on my head and me posing as Eddie Van Halen. Get down brother.


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where’d that water fountain go?

A kid loses his blanket and cries. A real loss as chemically potent as the greatest loss in human history. But the blanket is replaced……with toys, ding dongs, a bottle with a nipple and later in life, a bottle with booze, cigarettes, tv, work.

A squirrel, on the other hand is lodged in a v-neck branch canopy high above sea level ready for tonight’s ambush; dismount to the clothes line, swing to the sidewalk, sprint to that golden garbage treasure when all of a sudden the squirrel’s purpose is amputated.

There’s no more spring in its step. Castration, loss, a destiny and purpose hijacked. The squirrel becomes a statue staring at those strange eye shapes plastered to the sides of trees; tired elephant eyes, dark seductive mascara eyes, portal eyes into a better world, but it’s a trick right back into today the horizon is still a flat line.

The Stewart Copeland drum rolls and hi-hats can only be seen, not heard and meanwhile the 162 show must go on; first pitch Tropicana Field nears; Brewers Rays.

Will Smith wonders what the hell happened to his slider; the one that turned major league hitters into grave diggers; burying themselves in holes and taking one more desperate swing at an 0-2 pitch slipping away, down in the dirt;…strike 3… yer out.

Smith came to the Brewers on December 5, 2013 in exchange for popular lead off hitter Norichika Aoki. No one made a stink about it. Brewer fans trusted General Manager Melvin’s aim; to improve the bullpen.

Will Smith stood on the mound last night staring into a place called nowhere; 10 earned runs in 8 plus innings this July. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy patted him on the back; tried to gain eye contact; reassure him that these things happen, but Smith needed more than reassurance. He needed a shoulder, a hug, some kleenex, a vacation, amnesia.

He lost his blanket; his bread and butter, the thing that defines who he is. He lost his slider. It’s not sliding anymore and batters aren’t swinging . Has to be the loneliest feeling in the world.

Smith relieved Matt Garza who pitched 7 excellent innings; holding his former team-the sizzling Tampa Bay Rays to one run and five hits. Garza has been pitching like a July ace, but the Brewers bullpen has not. Smith served up a towering home run to Ben Zobrist and could only record one out in the 8th inning. A 1-1 tie turned into a 5-1 deficit.

The Rays’ Alex Cobb was almost perfect; 8 innings; 3 hits allowed and 12 strikeouts. He throws a split fingered change-up that drops off the earth. This is the same guy who was struck in the head by a screaming line drive last year. He sat motionless on the ground flat on his back as both teams waited in horror. But he returned a few weeks later as the Ray’s best pitcher; even better this season. Totally unfazed.

The Rays are on fire; winning 22 of 27 games. They are now one game under .500 and maybe no longer interested in trading David Price for future prospects. The Rays are suddenly interested in winning right now and why wouldn’t they be? Next to the Yankees, they have the best winning percentage of any team in baseball since 2008.

The trading deadline is Thursday and in many ways, the sky has dropped a billboard in Doug Melvin’s lap. The Brewers bullpen is very tired. Will Smith has never pitched this many innings in a season. And Zach Duke’s transformation from a mediocre over the top starter into an elite three-quarter delivery reliever has been a godsend, but Duke can’t carry the entire load.

This couldn’t be any easier for Melvin. The Brewers need some bullpen help and they can get some without depleting a farm system that isn’t the strongest to begin with. The starting pitchers have kept the team in games and that’s saying a lot. The Brewers have scored 2 runs in the last 27 innings. Time for some sweat lodge ceremony. The Brewers face David Price Wednesday and Adam Wainright Friday.

The Brewers are 59-49.