I Want to Save a Child's Sight!

Friday, December 28, 2007

More Snow...

Luckily, I'm off on PTO from work today (all this week), so I don't have to try to drive in this crappy snow. At least it appears to be less than what was originally predicted.

A few notes...

Congratulations to my beautiful wife on her Graduation from Cardinal Stritch University. She graduated with a Masters in Reading and Language Arts, and I couldn't be more proud of her. She worked so hard, and juggled her full-time teaching job, grad school, and motherhood.

My wife and I are expecting our second child in July 2008. We are obviously very excited!

I bought a new car yesterday, a 2008 Honda Civic EX. I had a 2001, so it was nice to upgrade! I hope the roads clear up so that I can actually drive it.

Happy Holidays to all! I hope you all had a nice Christmas, etc, as I did. It's always nice to spend time with family.

Pursuant to my last post regarding the MLB Winter Meetings, congrats to the Chicago Cubs on signing Kosuke Fukudome. I'm really excited to see how he fares in right field. Only 93 days until Opening Day!

Friday, November 30, 2007

'Twas Just Before the Winter Meetings

HUGE hat tip to Al of Bleed Cubbie Blue:

with many, MANY apologies to Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas just before Winter Meetings, when all through the air
Not a creature was stirring, not even Scott Eyre.
The stockings were hung by the old ballpark's eaves,
Fans wond'ring what Jim Hendry had up his sleeves.

Cubs fans were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Fukudome danced in their heads.
And Kerry Wood having re-signed to wear a Cubs cap,
We'd just settled our brains for a long winter's nap.

When out in the park there arose such a clatter,
We sprang from our beds to see what was the matter.
Away to the window fans flew like a flash,
Hoping to NOT see Guzman in the cache.

The moon shining down on the re-sodded field
Gave the lustre of midday to new players revealed.
As we hoped that our wondering eyes would behold
A new shortstop and relievers getting holds.

There was a big old manager, hat-tossing, not new,
I knew in a moment it must be our Lou.
More rapid than Pie, his players they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

"Now DeRo! Now Soto!
Now, Alfonso and D-Lee!
On, Lilly! On, Marmol!
On, A-Ram and Z!
To the top of the dugout!
To the top of the wall!
Now pitch away! Hit away!
Let's win it all!"

As baseballs that before the wild Wrigley winds fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
So up to the clubhouse Lou and Jim's minions flew,
With the sleigh full of pitchers, and outfielders too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard from Tennessee
The prancing and pawing of old Jason Marquis.
As he wondered if he'd be traded, without a sound,
'Round the corner Jim Hendry came with a bound.

He was dressed all rumpled, from his head to his foot,
And his cellphone was all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of free agents he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled, seeing five-tool players!
Unfortunately, none of them could run like Gale Sayers!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
Thinking about how the Brewers must close with Turnbow.

He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

(Sorry, that one was too easy. Had to leave that part alone. Onward.)

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave us to know we had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled the entire roster, with not a single jerk.
And after he'd bought all the players he might,
He and his team left Nashville that night.

He sprang to his plane, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he went out of sight,

"We're ready to win in '08, and to all a good night!"

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Question of Religion

I am an atheist, but this is a religion I can get behind: the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

This Deity helps to raise issues and concerns about the essence of religion.

"We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it," Henderson wrote. As for scientific evidence to the contrary, "what our scientist does not realize is that every time he makes a measurement, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage."

I've heard of the Pastafarians before, but this is the first time I have seen it reported in a major news source. Read more about it! If this helps to open the minds of those who insist on the existence of a God/Jesus, etc...fantastic.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

There's No Joy in Mudville

The Outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that -
We'd put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they'd a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.

Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Thoughts on Fans and Other Ramblings

So, those of us that are paying attention to such things as baseball at this time of the year know that the Brewers currently reside 3 games behind the Cubs for the NL Central lead. Winner takes all, as their records aren't good enough to contend for the Wild Card playoff spot.

You can see from my signature that I live in Milwaukee, but am a Cubs fan. Odd mix, eh? (I'm also a Bear fan from Green Bay!) I love the Brewers, but have always been a die-hard Cubs fan. It was a whole lot easier when the Brewers were in the AL, believe me.

I understand rivalries, etc, as I am a huge sports fan, and fully realize that my Cubs fandom crosses several "lines" about "where you're from and who you are fan of" rules. Again, let's just say my family and I disagree heavily about football. But I do have a problem with all of the fans giving each other the business about it. I'm not a trash talker, and I don't necessarily like it. Frankly, the fans shouldn't have a lot to say because the games aren't in their control. But over the last few years I've noticed that the rivalry between the Cubs and Brewers has gotten increasingly nasty. I've been to games vs the Cubs at Miller Park, and against the Brewers at Wrigley. I'll tell ya...the Cubs fans were NOT nice when they come up to Milwaukee. They're loud, obnoxious, rude, and think they own the place. Rather embarrassing actually. This is however, not to say that the Brewers fans were innocent; far from it. They were just as loud, rude, and obnoxious toward the Cubs fans, when they weren't that way towards the fans of other teams. A lot of incidents were provoked on both sides. It was a few years ago when I was at Wrigley when the Cubs faced the Brewers (and neither team was that good at the time), but I distinctly remember that the fans were well behaved...they didn't get on each other to the point of coming to blows (like they do in Milwaukee), but there was obviously still some razzing.

Familiarity really does breed contempt. I'm not passing judgment on whose fans are better. Both teams have a LOT of really knowledgeable fans. I don't know anyone who is a bigger Brewers fan than my best friend, Mike, who is extremely knowledgeable not just about the Brewers, but all of Baseball.

Let's all use our heads and not our mouths this week. Enough name calling and bad feelings. No matter who wins the NL Central, one teams fan base is going to be upset. If the Cubs win, the Brewers fans will be extremely upset. Someone said to me today: "anyone but the Cubs. I can stomach anyone beating us, except the Cubs." I hear ya. Cubs fans don't want to give up their 3 game lead to their neighbors to the north either. I predict increasing hostilities on both sides in the coming years.

Regardless, it will be a great week of baseball!!! All of the races in the NL and one in the AL are still up for grabs. I'll have to revisit my predictions from the beginning of the season as to whom would be the playoff teams. Somehow, I don't think I did too poorly.

Other random thought: Moved into a new office this week in downtown Milwaukee. Beautiful, just beautiful. The commute, not so much, but nearly everything else is really nice. I also got a promotion at the beginning of the month, so I'm adjusting to the new role. It's not a huge change from what I was doing, but large enough.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Happy Harry Day!

No, not hairy, HARRY POTTER!!! Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you would know that today the seventh and final Harry Potter book is released, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Well, it was released at 12:01 AM last night, and as of this writing (1:30 PM), I am still awaiting the delivery of my book, "patiently." Actually, I'm pretty furious that it's not here yet...

I'm doing my best not to read any online reviews, and pretty much just not watch any news...but I'm so anxious to dive into the book that I'm literally pacing around. I know, I'm a nerd. At least the Cubs game is on...

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Luckiest day in recent memory? Congrats to all of you who are "taking the plunge" today. Best of luck to you.

Either way, it's pretty cool when the dates line up like that. I don't know that 7 holds any special significance for me, but it is considered by pretty much everyone to be the luckiest number.

Happy belated 4th of July to everyone, as well.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Go Cubs!!!

Sorry, just had to put in a plug for my boys in blue for the weekend series in Chicago against the Brewers.

The Cubs had a wild win on Friday (Hear the calls: radio & TV), but back-pedaled yesterday, losing 13-4.

Rubber-match Sunday at 1:20.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day

Senator Feingold today on the 4th Anniversary of "Mission Accomplished:"

“The four-year anniversary of “mission accomplished” comes on the heels of one of the deadliest months since our invasion of Iraq. The anniversary reminds us that we shouldn’t give credence to an Administration that has made such disastrous mistakes in Iraq. Congress should listen to the American people and not an Administration that has been so wrong, and so dishonest, so many times. The President should acknowledge the will of the American people and sign the Iraq spending bill Congress is sending him today.”

Four years ago, Bush stood on the deck of an aircraft carrier and proclaimed that the violence in Iraq was over, that all major missions were completed, and that the "war" was won. How wrong he was...and even more wrong was our good-puppy press lapping it up, and proclaiming that we'd won..."they" lost. The only people that won are Bush and his cronies, that continue to profit off of the lives of our soldiers. They blatantly lied to the nation and mislead us into a never ending conflict. Bush: sign the withdrawal bill. Do something right for a change, without thinking only of your donors and those who stand to profit from the death and carnage in the Middle East.

Update (7PM): Seems Bush vetoed it anyways.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Happy Greatest Day of the Year!

Happy Greatest Day of the Year!

Today marks the beginning of baseball season, and the NCAA Championship game.

In the NCAA Championship, I'm picking Florida, even though I want both teams to lose...I can't stand either.

In baseball, GO CUBS!!! GO BREWERS!!! Chicago opens up today at 1:10 in Cincinnati, and the Brewers have their home opener against the Dodgers at 1:05.

For Division winners, I'm picking the Red Sox, Tigers, Angels, and Yankees as the Wild Card in the AL. In the NL, I'm picking the Mets, Cubs, Dodgers, and Phillies as the Wild Card.

Let the games begin on this, the happiest day of the year!!!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Eye of Newt

This is unfortunately not an April Fools joke, but it involves a Fool.

Newt Gingrich wants to abolish bilingual education. Yes, even today, in this growing global economy, he wants to handicap future generations from communicating with others around the world.

From 1995: "In 1995, for example, he said bilingualism poses "long-term dangers to the fabric of our nation" and that "allowing bilingualism to continue to grow is very dangerous."

And today: "The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. ... We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto," Gingrich said to cheers from the crowd of more than 100." (My emphasis added)

I admit I'm a bit biased because my Mother is a Spanish teacher, and I majored in Spanish in College (one of my 2 degrees). This is just a mean-spirited idea, throttling inclusiveness and throwing us into isolationism.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Quote of the Day

"That's the problem with this president. This president isn't moved by anything except his own head. The Constitution says the Congress has the power of the purse. The Constitution doesn't make him king. . . . The president needs to understand the days of having a rubber-stamp Congress are over."

-Appropriations Committee Chair Dave Obey of Wausau (D - WI)

[Bravo to the House for passing the 2008 withdrawal plan. That took some big stones.]

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Five Votes

For those of you that know me at all, or have ever looked at my blog, you know that I bleed Cubbie Blue.

And I bleed more for Ron Santo than any other Cub.

Maybe it's the fact that we're both Type I Diabetics. Maybe it's the fact that he played his ass off with a disease that KILLS, and he had one of the five best third base careers in MLB HISTORY.

But today, the HoF Veterans committee voted no one in. No one...for the 6th year in a row (they vote every two years). Santo was the closest with 57 of the needed 62 votes to get in.

I will echo Al's comments: Anyone on that committee who didn't vote for Santo should be immediately kicked out of the Hall. Bar none.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bear Down Chicago Bears!

The Chicago Bears have returned to the Super Bowl after a 21 year absence. [Tribune]

This will date me, but I was only 6+ years old when my Bears made it to Super Bowl XX in 1986 (I turned 7 in June that year), but I've always held an unquenchable passion for the team. They did the "Shuffle" then, and I hope they can win another title now.

I can't wait to see the Bears match up against the Colts for Super Bowl XLI.

From the 1941 fight song:

Bear down, Chicago Bears, make every play clear the way to victory;
Bear down, Chicago Bears, put up a fight with a might so fearlessly.
We'll never forget the way you thrilled the nation with your T-formation.
Bear down, Chicago Bears, and let them know why you're wearing the crown.
You're the pride and joy of Illinois, Chicago Bears, bear down.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Hello again, it's your friendly neighborhood Ben PAC.

Sorry that I've been away so long. Life seems to get in the way of a good post, sometimes. I'm not announcing my "return" or anything of the like, but just an update, if you will.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas/Holiday break. It was nice to not have to get up at 5:30 and rush off to work the day after Christmas, I'll tell you that!

Work has been just insane of late. I've taken on new responsibilities for the same amount of pay, or rather, more stress and anxiety for nothing added. I'm not trying to complain, it is what it is...I just wish that these companies that are trying to "do more with less" would actually recognize those that work hard for them everyday.

Home life is grand. The new house is coming along...it's still standing, so we're ok. It was very nice to finally get my office organized, and get the rec room somewhat in order while on break.

Our daughter is doing wonderfully. She's now 14 1/2 months old, and into everything. I almost miss the days when I could walk out of the room that she was in for a moment and not come back to find it destroyed. She's very into pictures and books.

My best friend and I are brewing beer again! I'm very excited about this. We just made an Irish Red, and are going to make a MaiBock coming soon.

I wanted to say good bye and good luck to Brewtown Politico. You will be sorely missed. It was you (and a few others) who inspired me to start blogging, and to find my voice in the din of the blog world. Thank you.

Like I said, this wasn't intended to be "my return." It is just an update. I do want to begin posting more frequently again, but time has just not allowed it of late. By the time I get home from my 9+ hour day at work, I'm quite exhausted, and would rather play with my daughter than blog or be anywhere near a computer, for that matter.

Until then, GO BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!