Monday, April 10, 2017

Remembering Dennis James

Well, it's with deep regret that I announce the passing of my good buddy and one of my very first blog readers in Dennis James of Milwaukee. We worked together for 4 years in the banking industry and even got laid off at the same time. We've kept in touch ever since.

Dennis was a huge baseball fan. Him the Brewers and myself the Cubs which he always razzed me about. Throughout the World Series we texted as my Cubs finally won.When I asked him if he bought he World Series Cubs gear yet he told me he was wearing it. 

At that very moment he was lying in a hospital bed with leukemia but still had the wisecracks. He didn't have a lot of hair at the age of 63 and I asked him if he still had the curly locks. He quickly took a photo and texted me his shaved head from the chemo.

He was diagnosed around September 1st and passed away last Thursday. It was a rare form and I'm told a survival rate of around 15%. For people over 50 years of age it's about 0. He turned 64 almost a month ago but he knew the writing on the wall and never let us know how bad it really was. I believe he faced death with bravery and dignity. A good Irishman until the very end!

Judging by the service today he was loved by many.

I'll be forever proud just to call him my friend. I don't deal with death very good and it's why I never use the word 'goodbye'. All my sign offs are 'later'. I never said goodbye to Dennis, but I hope he knows how much I thought of him.

God Bless Dennis.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Back From AZ Again

Another wonderful Arizona trip and a big thanks to our hosts John and Angela. It wasn't quite as warm as last year but still very good.

We took a brief interlude in the middle to travel to Tuscon. Krissy and I stayed at the famous Hotel Congress which is where they caught John Dillinger in 1934.

We also went to Old Tuscon the movie studio and took a tour of St. Xavier church which was built around 1692. Also took in a play called the Two Amigos at the Gaslight Theatre. Coco thought the show was hilarious.

Back in Scottsdale he managed to do some go karting with Justin and we hiked Pinnacle Peak. Cave Creek we visited twice as well as Old Scottsdale.

The big event was the Cubs Spring Training game against the Reds. John bought me a Lee Smith autographed baseball and he went for a George Foster ball. Both were terrific guys. Coco and I almost caught balls but came up short. No worries though as it was a terrific trip once again!

Getting back in the groove now!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I Gave Trump A Chance

I've intentionally kept my mouth shut on Trump. I don't like him at all but he deserved a chance. A chance he's blown just as quickly as I thought he would. Then this morning, All the President's Men is happening all over again. Four of Trump's campaign operatives have been linked with Russia over almost the entire campaign last year.

General Flynn resigned yesterday in disgrace and I hope the Army takes away his hefty pension for borderline treason. The FBI has him on tape talking to a Russia Ambassador and he lied about it to the FBI and the Vice-President Pence. Pence even went on national tv and stood up for Flynn. Considering Flynn worked in Intelligence most of his career he should be charged with stupidity for getting himself taped.

Naturally people like Jason Chaffetz and Rand Paul don't want an investigation to see why Russia was meddling in our election and perhaps working hand in hand with Trump to get him elected. Paul even said "Republicans shouldn't investigate Republicans." So much for all of us being Americans.

Milwaukee's own Al Jarreau passed away just after the Grammy's the other night. He won 7 of them in his lifetime and was a true legend who will be missed. He actually grew up on Reservoir a handful of blocks away from where I live.

Mary Tyler Moore and Miguel Ferrer also passed away this month. Moore was in my all time favorite show, The Dick Van Dyke show. Ferrer was a legendary character actor who was in NCIS Los Angeles at the time of his passing. He was also the cousin of George Clooney who released a classy and touching statement on his cousin.

Going back to Trump, it has the feel of Watergate all over again. My school principal ordered the Chicago Tribune for everyone in our school and we followed it closely from start to finish. Ironically, the question then over 40 years ago is exactly the same as it is now. What did the President know and when did he know it?


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Big Easy Recap

What a great trip. Ten people in New Orleans for Holly's birthday celebration is guaranteed to be a great time. Krissy and I arrived there first on Wednesday night. It should have been earlier but we had a plane delay in St. Louis.

We started off by checking into the Hotel Manzarin which is a fantastic place with great staff. We threw our bags in and headed for Jean Lafitte's Absinthe Bar from 1807. It's totally ancient with a high bar, low seats and great drinks. We toured Bourbon Street after that.

Other folks arrived on Thursday and we hung around them at several bars. Ed actually got to play a couple songs with the house band at Fat Catz.

More people arrived on Friday. On Saturday we did the St Louis cemetery tour with Gary and Michelle which was very interesting. Nicolas Cage fell in love with New Orleans and bought out a space and had a mausoleum built for himself. A very interesting choice in design and there's a photo below. Saturday night was a venture to Frenchmen's Street which has more of a local flavor. We didn't get back to the hotel till 3am.

One of my two favorite places was Jimani where I had a steak poboy. It was by far the best sandwich that I've ever had in my entire life! The other, a place I kept gravitating to with Krissy, was the Chart Room. No relation to the one in Key West but it sure looked similar. A true locals joint led by Al, the Bell Captain at the Hotel Monteleone for 56 years and John the Magician who has been in several movies.

A special thanks to Eddie Willis for a truly great two hour show at Prohibition 21. An 80 year old blues legend who truly tore the house down and it was my pleasure to watch it!

The French Quarter is a magnificent place and the people of New Orleans were nice and very patient with all the tourists. I've left out quite a bit more but it wouldn't be the Crescent City if we didn't leave a few secrets there. I look forward to a return visit someday as New Orleans gave me a great idea for a book!


Entrance to the House of Blues

My Margarita Sweetie

Just Finished the Best Po Boy Ever

A Colorful House
The Flea Market

Bourbon Street

St Louis Cemetery
Future Mausoleum for Nicolas Cage

Breakfast Everyday
Me and Krissy

Street Performer Every Morning
My Favorite Sign

Oldest Bar in the United States

Dave and Amy at Mannings
The Game

Krissy and I

Holly the Birthday Girl

Me, Ed and Dave

Ed Playing at Fat Catz

Bourbon Street
Jackson Park
The First of Many Drinks

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Russian Sympathizer Or Just A Pervert

Just when you think things can't get crazier the latest Trump bombshell comes out. And it was leaked by the intelligence agencies apparently and to add a little intrigue England's MI6. That's right, the James Bond guys!

At this point they are nothing but allegations but there is an investigation and nobody on the Republican side is denying this. It involves his campaign aides meeting with the Russians for help in the election. But, the Russians take it one step further and maybe Trump is correct when he says Putin is smart.

That's because the investigation involves a sex tape from Trump's visit to the Ritz Carlton in Moscow in 2013 for a beauty pageant. Allegations say it involves a few hookers and a golden shower. My son just got back from Mexico and he's wondering what kind of shower is that. Nice! And this creep is going to be President next week. Apparently Russian spies bugged his room with cameras.

I listened to BBC and another foreign radio station tonight just to confirm my suspicions which were correct. As a country, at this moment, we are the biggest joke on the planet. A sad day indeed.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Term Limit Time

For politicians the New Year is the same as last year. They can't get out of their own way. If their asses weren't attached I'm not sure they could find them. The very first thing they try to do is drastically reduce an ethics board so they can get away with more murder. The very very first thing they do!

Thankfully the people went on an uproar and the apparently weakest Speaker of the House in modern history pulled the bill.

It's back to the grind but a good New Year so far. The weather is in single digits but we're getting used to it. No snow though.

Football season for my Bears is over and we are drafting third. They better not blow this pick and they have seven rounds of top five picks.

It's winter recycling time which means the recycle guys stop by whenever and pick it up rather than us taking it to the curb. That might sound like a good idea except my recycle guy is totally inept. He bear hugs the recycle bin and walks down in front of it instead of getting behind it and tipping it back on the wheels. It's much easier that way and it wouldn't tear up my wooden steps.

Going to work on my book now. I'm so close to having the final write finished. Definitely a longer process than I bargained for!


Monday, January 2, 2017

Polar Bear Plunge 2017

NYE was a blast and I think we're still recovering. 5 Card Stud put on a great show and the dinner and company were wonderful!

Jimmy Butler dropped in 52 points tonight. He's having a great season so far. It's hard to believe this kid from Marquette fell so far in the first round for the Bulls to grab him.

Mango is up to 53 pounds. That's a 12 pound gain so I think the vet is right that she was much younger than they said at the Humane Society.

It's 40 and rainy the last couple days here in Milwaukee. Better than snow!

5000 people showed up to watch the Polar Bear Plunge in Lake Michigan yesterday with 500 participants, a record. I keep contemplating to do the plunge and this would have been a good year for it!

So far I'm keeping to my workout schedule. Then again, it's only day 2!