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The Fading Ghosts of ’69

The Fading Ghosts of ’69

The place had emptied. The last hot dog wrapper of 2015 had drifted across the infield and made its exit out into the parking lot. A few wisps of vapor had lingered in the right field bleachers. If one listened closely one could almost hear the vapor speak.

“Same time next year fellas?”

“Yea, the usual.”

“I think next year is the last, next year.”

“What are you giving up?”

“Never, but next year we’ll be satisfied and we’ll move on.”

“Yea, I think you’re right. It feels different this time.”

“I saw that goat leave during the season.”

“Oh really, when?”

“It was just after a walk off win.”

“Which one? We had a bunch.”

“September 28, 2015.”

“The last one, against the Royals?”

“Yea. We didn’t know it then but the goat knew.”

“Knew what?”

“That we just took 2 out of 3 from a team bound for the World Series.”

“Yea but that was before we made the playoffs, before we beat St Louis to move to the NLCS.”

“Yea but at that point the goat knew that was a foregone conclusion and that his time was up.”

“I’m not going to miss that goat.”

“Me either, he stunk.”

“When does spring training start?”

“It’s just around the corner.”

Note: The Author is a lifelong Cub fan and they have broken his heart more times than the women in his life. He is still a diehard fan….of both.

It’s That Season Already

It’s That Season Already

Rays of sunshine peaked around fluffy white clouds as another day dawned at the gates. Herbert was on duty at the arrival desk providing for more vacation relief. Apparently St Peter was trying to get an afterlife.

The first shuttle of the day pulled up and a full compliment of arrivals disembarked. Herbert wasn’t sure but given that they all were wearing the same clothes, almost costumes really, he surmised they knew each other. Looking at the manifest he confirmed his suspicion.

“Yep, they’re all political consultants. That explains the plain grey suits and ties in what I assume is this years power color.”

The first person of the group stepped up to the podium.

“Hello I have been asked to be the spokesperson of the group.”

“Of course you have, What’s on your mind?”

“So, Are we correct in assuming these are the gates to heaven?”

“You are correct in assuming so sir.”
Herbert felt strange. He normally was not so formal. Perhaps it was the suits.

“Well, we are quite confused as to how we made it here?”

“Oh, why is that?”

“Aside from the fact that we are all political consultants, we also all basically committed suicide.”

“Well, as to the first part I can only say that is not immediate grounds for relocation to the basement so to speak. Unless you worked for Hitler, Mussolini or various other despots. I have a list here if you would like to check.”

“No, that won’t be necessary. We were not employed by any of those.”

“And as for the second part of your claim, I am quite certain you are mistaken. The shuttle would have taken you to a holding area to adjudicate the circumstances. Are you sure you all ended your lives?”

“Well not physically as such but we all gave up the will to live.”

“That’s not grounds for adjudication. But really; All of you? What possessed you to do that.”

“Well, it was quite a lot of things but mostly we were all tired of not being listened to.”

“Yes, that’s right,” the group shouted in unison.

At this point individuals began stepping forth to add their own voices to the discussion.

“It wasn’t like our advice was hard to understand,” said the average looking one in a suit.

“Yea, it was in plain language,” said another indistinguishable one in a suit.

“Yes,” said another one looking like, well you know the drill.

“We even put it on a flash card around their neck so they could consult it whenever they were asked a question,” added the spokesperson.

“Sounds like a good idea,” replied Herbert. “What did it say?”

“It says and I quote “Whatever you’re are thinking, don’t say it.”

“And that didn’t work?”

“Oh no, They just laughed and proceeded to insult every voting demographic that exists. Some of them we didn’t know existed until they expressed their rage.”

“Yea, And we had to clean up the mess,” shouted another, uh, nondescript arrival.

“Sorry to hear that but that is no longer your concern so you can all relax. I do have one question if you don’t mind?”

“Oh sure, you’re the gatekeeper by all means.”

“There is one gentlemen that kinds of stands out over there in the back.”

“Oh, Harry?”

“Is he the naked one covered in rather large bandages?”

“Yes and those are bumper stickers. He lost his mind before he lost the will to live.”

“You don’t say. What caused that?”

“Oh, the bumper stickers I supposed. Those were his clients last request before he just lost it.”

“What do they say?”

“The candidate apologizes in advance for anything offensive he will say soon”

“That would do it.”

“Does a Progressive Sausage Dream of Clouds?”

“Does a Progressive Sausage Dream of Clouds?”

“Hey we have to move to the cloud.”

“Why do you , Abe Froehman*, Sausage King of Chicago need to be on the cloud?”

“Because everyone’s doing it and I don’t like to be left behind.”

“Do you even know what the cloud is?”

“No, but it sounds cool and we need to be progressive.”

“Um, yea. You’re a sausage king. To be progressive you would have to come out with a line of vegetarian sausage.”

“You mean a sausage with no meat?”


“What’s the point?”

“I feel the same about you being on the cloud.”

“Ok, I give up. You’re my tech guru. What is the cloud?”

“Computer Servers on a network that store data.”

“No lightning or thunder? That’s underwhelming. How is that cool?

“Well, it’s not really.”

“Then why is everyone doing it?”

“Well, it’s being used by apps to store data and make the data easily available to other platforms?”

“English please?”.

“You can use an app on your computer and your phone and the app would have access to the same data from either.”

“An app, I don’t have one of those”.

“No Captain Obvious , you don’t”

“Maybe I should get one.”

“What would your app do?”

“How about a sausage race?”

“I assume that would be a game.”

“Of course”.

“How would that help business?”

“Advertising, The player could choose from our inventory which sausage types would race. It would also introduce them to our product line.”

“That’s not bad but who would they race against? The computer ? That’s only a two sausage race.”

“Hmm, how about make it one of those online things. The player could choose which sausage they want to be. You know, the sausage they most identify with.”

“I’m not sure about the sausage empathy bit but a social app where you play against others on the internet is not a bad idea. There may be a problem though.”

“What’s that? ”

“Major League Baseball?”

“The app is not going to broadcast the accounts of a game with-out their advised written consent.”

“No but the Milwaukee Brewers have a sausage race during the seventh inning stretch. MLB may lay claim to the sausage race.”

“Hmm, could we sponsor that? It would be a great tie in with the app.”

“It’s already sponsored by one of your competitors.”

“Hmm, They have baseball in Japan don’t they?”

“Um, yes. Why?”

“I bet they don’t have a sausage race sponsored by one of our competitors?”

“Thats a safe bet. Sausages don’t do well in japan.”

“It would be a great way for us to roll out my new product idea.”

“Oh, and what would that be?”


“You might be better off with the vegetarian idea.”


“Surprisingly enough, that is taken.”

“Suishigages it is and I have another idea for a sausage based trivia app.”

“We need to get you a non sausage-based hobby.”

Authors Note: As far as I know “Suishigages” and “Soysages” are not the property of MLB.

*A shout out to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The movie will be celebrating its 30th birthday next year but the actual 30th anniversary of his day off happened June 5th of this year. That was determined by the people at Baseball Prospectus by using the players names and numbers and process of elimination. 

Infection Staycation (How to Take Advantage of Being Sick for Maximum Enjoyment)

Infection Staycation (How to Take Advantage of Being Sick for Maximum Enjoyment)

So you had planned on traveling to see family for the 4th of July.  A tradition kept alive for going on 15 years. Several Birthdays , including the nations, all rounded into one big happy party.
Too bad a sinus infection decided to spread to your lungs and kept you down for the count. Just because it has caused pneumonia in the past doesn’t mean your vacation is ruined. A positive outlook and a little imagination can still provide days of entertainment.

If you have a tradition of running high fevers, mentally prepare yourself now to take full advantage of the hallucinations that are on their way.

Binge watch some of the shows that can surround you with the images you’ll require for your ideal vacation. If you’re looking for that L.A. experience try out some Entourage. If you ask for something more exotic from your hallucinations then perhaps Lost or Fringe is more your style.

Remember one persons freak show is another person’s ideal vacation.

If your vacation tastes run more to the beach scene try out some old Baywatch episodes. To recreate the same urge you have when you see the ocean, drink plenty of water and clear the path to your bathroom.

Some vacations naturally come with cocktails and while drinking is probably not a good idea when you’re sick, there are some cough syrups out there that come highly recommended by quite a few well known rappers.*

If you are used to taking in a good fireworks show on the fourth then tune your TV to the fireworks broadcast of your choice, hook up some decent speakers and crank them up to eleven.
This can act as a decent simulation of the real thing. Throw in the proper incense, do they make “essence of cordite”, and you will actually think you’re there.

Most important of all, no matter how you celebrate, hold on to your couch and be safe out there.
Happy Fourth!

* Remember this is humor, do not take this seriously.

Photo: Fireworks over San Diego 2004: Public Domain Photos.

Cruising With The Top Down

Cruising With The Top Down

Steel repetitively cutting through white foam. Upon occasion the appearance of a red streak breaks the surface and is soon blotted by fluffy white paper. I look at the glass and the man that I have become looks back. He looks a lot like my father at this point in his life. I am just four years short of his last year ever. I remember watching him shave. At some time he switched to electric and it wasn’t as interesting to watch. I expect that if I had mentioned that he would have switched back, despite the cuts.

My fathers life was full of joy and pain, mostly of the physical variety and knowing what I know now, some fear. He had lived most of his life with type 1 diabetes.

I do not know what he was told upon diagnosis as to any limits his life had. I do know that he lived his life as if he had none.

It wasn’t until I was older that I noticed that time was imposing physical limits. Limits that would make sense had he been 25 years older. His eyesight was going. His peripheral vision was the first to go. Laser surgery could only prolong the inevitable.

Through it all my Dad woke up every morning and lived. He woke up, injected himself and went to work. Sometimes he woke up , injected himself, went to work, came home, slept, woke up and went to his second job. My Dad worked a lot to support his family.

I remember coming home for lunch and eating in the basement so as to not wake him.

It would be just a couple hours before he went to his second job. He had four kids by the age of 28. In those days that is what you did, although I am not sure that the schedule wasn’t accelerated. Time was not an ally.

Although he worked a lot I have plenty of memories of time spent with him. My earliest memory was of cruising through the sunshine in my Dad’s red chevy convertible. My brother and I were sitting in the back seat and it started to rain.

I remember my dad laughing and saying,“Its just a sun shower, we won’t melt.”

He kept the top down and my brother and I laughed. His life was like that. It rained sometimes but he laughed, kept the top down and cruised on.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers and those that love them.

Yes, there is some sadness in my heart. But I can still hear my Dad’s laughter.

“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”
Mark Twain

Do Not Go Quietly (Requiem for a King)

Do Not Go Quietly (Requiem for a King)

     Herbert was pulling pearly gate duty again, he volunteered this time. It was a chance to meet people at the end of their journey and witness all of their worries taking wing. It was an experience he could not forget and he had to share in it once more. 

The first time it occurred, he felt guilty that he took pleasure at being at the end of a person’s life. The guilt only lasted until the next person stepped off of the shuttle. A sufficient time for reality to settle in had past and most of the arrivals had a realized they were not heading to a much warmer climate. This stop at the pearly gates was final confirmation that all would be well.
The first shuttle of the day had arrived and unloaded its passengers and while it was sans knights on noble steeds*, the experience was satisfying and he found himself looking forward to the next arrival.

During the wait, Herbert was trying to read the latest issue of People but he was having a hard time concentrating.

The lobby’s muzak was covering the best of Kenny G. While the title may be just a small lie, the music itself belonged at the alternate end of the road.

Soon the sounds of a blues riff in E-Minor mercifully arrived on the wind.

Herbert was somewhat of guitar buff and he thought he recognized the fat sounds of a Gibson announcing the arrival of the next shuttle.

It’s about time we got some righteous tunes up here, he thought.

The notes reached a crescendo as the shuttle appeared and BB King jumped out and completed his riff to announce his arrival. Herbert was blown away.

“Wow,what an entrance,” he exclaimed.
“But why the blues Mr. King? Most people are actually happy upon reaching the pearly gates.”

“Young man you don’t always have to be sad to play the blues. It can be a celebration that sad times are in the past.”

Nice philosophy, thought Herbert.

“Besides,I’m B.B King. You expect me to play Kenny G?

“Oh heavens no,” replied Herbert”

“ I’m looking forward to playing to a new audience. You don’t have many critics up here do you?”

“Oh no, their final destination is much warmer.”

Thank you B.B. King for nourishing my soul.

*If you missed that reference see “Waiting For Dulcinea”

There’s An App for That? Oh, The Humanity

There’s An App for That? Oh, The Humanity

Personal technology is a fast lane that is hard to enter at slow speeds and one that may leave us wanting if we attempt to stay out of it. Sometimes we need help ascertaining if a gadget or app* is worth our time. There are plenty of blogs, podcasts or youtube channels out there to help with that. The fact that I did not type “technology columns,” “radio programs” or “tv shows” leaves me waxing nostalgic or as I like to call it “geezing.”

Hey, I’m a geek. I love apps but I think there needs to be some talking off the ledge sometimes.

We need a blog, podcast or youtube channel that would help us exercise some sanity. Perhaps something created by a “technotherapist.” No not a word yet but as soon as I teach it to my dictionary app it will be.

“Hello this is the Digital Doctor you’re on the net”.

“Yea, I’m looking for a navigational app for a Boy Scout troop. It needs to work well away from civilization and a power source.”

“Um, yea how about a map?”

“Map? I don’t understand”

“Well, it is a paper screen with different colored lines for roads and rivers but it is covered with the same numbers a GPS app spits out. Those numbers are called latitude and longitude markings.”

“Oh wow. Does it work with-out power?”

“Uh yea, so far they haven’t figure out a way to power wood pulp.”

“Cool. Are there any apps that go with it?”

“Well, there is a thing called a compass.”

“Oh yea, I think I saw an app for that.”

“Yes, that was based on an actual compass. You will find that the map and the compass work well together.”

“Oh, are they are integrated ?”

“Yes, you could say that.”

“What power’s the compass?”


“Does it come with a heart rate monitor?”

“No but you can calculate your own.”

“Oh, can I?”

“Well, some people can.”

“What does that take?”

“Well, two fingers and some basic math skills but you could probably get away with one finger.

“Oh, math skills. I don’t know”

“Don’t worry it does not require anything beyond counting.”

“Would wikipedia cover that?”

“Yes, but you could probably ask an actual Boy Scout, unless they have traded in their first aid badge for an app.”

*Heavens to Hemingway ‘app’ is a word now. Let’s face it, anything you tell your dictionary ‘app’ to learn is a word. Which reminds me, I need to teach the word “geezing” to my app.

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