Sunday, August 31, 2008


So Milwaukee is in an exuberant state of elation, because it is again another 5 years into the history of Harley Davidson.

And the crowds rejoice. Thunderously.

I do have some questions that arise as a side effect of all the media hullaballoo surrounding the festivities.

1. If I were to get 7 or 10 friends together, and we purchased buttless chaps, leather vests and called ourselves a "gang" would that term really apply? Especially if we were to use Pogo sticks as our mode of transportation? Technically, by the rationale that a collection of people using the same mode of transport, and wearing similar gear constitutes a "gang", we should be able to call ourselves just that. I mean, after all, technically, Pogo sticks are indeed a method of travel, albeit an inefficient and uncomfortable one. We could be "Hades' Hoppers".

2. A group of Harleys collective clamor is capable of ripping the shingles off of my roof. This is legal. If I have a hole in my muffler, I can be pulled over and prosecuted for noise pollution. Why is that? If a pair of those motorcycles rides past my car, and the driver's side window is open, I'm deaf for 10 minutes. It seems like a double standard in my opinion.

3. A Harley Davidson motorcycle is called, for short, a "Harley". How do you suppose Davidson and his descendents feel about that?

4. Could extensive and long term vibration from motorcycles cause you to be incontinent?

Now, mind you, I'm not some sort of anti-biker person. I have several in my immediate family, and I love them dearly. It's just living in the Milwaukee area, and having wall to wall coverage in the media blasted into my face caused me a touch of annoyance. As an example of my impartiality, I am a huge Green Bay Packers fan and I was ready to throw my television, my radios, and by extension my car, because I am technically incapable of removing a stereo from a vehicle off of a cliff, because of the monolithic coverage of the whole Brett Favre la-dee-da in recent weeks.

I think the Media should stick to one mantra.

Is it new?

I do not need interviews with people, some shocked souls who seem stunned by the question asker being there, who are just hanging around some sort of festivity. Especially when the tv journalists are asking questions about something that was revealed 3 days ago, or has been going on for a week.

Because just talking about news does not make it news.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


When I was in High School, "Roggin's Heroes" was a very popular syndicated television show that was, in essence, an even lower brow (if that's possible) version of "America's Funniest Home Videos". Basically, it was people wiping out.

And God help me, I nearly died of laughter by the end of every episode.

In it's most literal sense, schaudenfreude is the German word that symbolizes the sense of innate humor in laughing at the misfortune of others. And over time, in America's culture, it has evolved, for all intents and purposes into chuckling at people falling down.

When I was a kid growing up I would salivate when finding out that Johnny Carson was going to have Bob Uecker on his show, or Letterman guesting Joe Garagiola or Marv Albert (pre scandal, of course). They brought baseball bloopers with them, and they were more often than not, a hoot.
(A personal favorite of mine was former Pittsburgh Pirate Dale Berra tripping over home plate while jogging by after a home run. Pick up your feet, Dale.)

Obviously, Schaudenfreude is intensified when it happens to people in elevated places, and the higher the better. It brings those on a pedestal a little closer to the floor with the rest of us. And let me tell you there is nothing more satisfying than watching your boss, smugly cruising by, leaving early again and rubbing it in, only to stumble up the steps to the door and lose his keys through the gap in between the stairs in the process.

"Hellblazer" character John Constantine states in the story arc, "The Red Right Hand" that schadenfreude was the purest emotion he'd ever felt.

I, with my glaring deficiencies, lack of confidence and anxiety issues, need this ocassional day to day schaudenfreude to keep psychologically moving. It's a type of balance keeping, or natural correction. Whether it's that baseball bouncing off of the top of Jose Canseco's head and going over the wall for a home run, or some jerk neighbor having a timed sprinkler in his front lawn going off in his face as he's headed to the mailbox, it does one thing for me.

It reminds me that we are all human.

And we can all laugh.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Mental Health. An oxymoron. Like Jumbo Shrimp, thank you George Carlin. I'm a cat who suffers from moderately strong anxiety, and to those in the know it can be a pain in many ways. It doesn't help when the world around you is as crazy as you are.

I tell you, being a sports fan in Wisconsin is difficult enough. It's like you need psycho therapy to accomplish it.

Mental Health is and is not one of my fortes, after all. I suffer from anxiety, and I know that stress and it's off shoots can be painful, and can cause their own form of crazy, but I cannot tolerate sports fan ineptitude.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I watched my father fight a losing battle with cancer just before I got into spectator sports. My sports teams were seasoned with the successes of the 82 Brewers world series march and the strike shortened playoff Packers. Success in one at the very least tempered the disaster of the other. After all a lonely kid suffering through the pain and suffering of losing a parent has to go somewhere. Too young to dive into a bottle, I jumped into my teams.

But now those around me are driving me nothing short of insane. I work with people who act like Brett Favre is nothing short of William "Braveheart" Wallace, crying "FREEEDDOOOMMM!!!!" in New York, while Ted "King Longshanks" Thompson rolls over in his deathbed in agony.

Please. Come on.

I quietly kept to myself on the topic while Favre's replacement, Aaron Rodgers, had a nice kickoff to his starting quarterback career with the first preseason game. A week later when Brett threw a touchdown pass, and the Pack collectively imploded, I never heard the end of it. In either ear. So now I have 16 weeks of insanity to deal with in the workplace.

And I can come home to the quiet of my insanity.