Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm going to Disney World!!

As much as I would love to make a nice long descriptive post about my kick ass time at the World Series, I just have too much to do today as I'm leaving for a part business/part pleasure trip to Orlando on Monday. So, yes, the Phils won the series and I get to scream at the camera that I'm going to Disney World. That means if I don't get a chance to post this weekend , I'll most likely not be making a post until at least the 11th. But have no fear, they're be plenty to talk about then. We'll have a new president-elect, lots of fun Disney stories to tell, and I still have a few things in store for you.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I was there!!!

I saw it all!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Freeze Frame

I actually received 2 emails asking why I hadn't blogged about game 5 of the World Series and it's suspension. I'll take it as a compliment when people are actually interested in what you have to write and miss it when I don't do it. To be honest I just couldn't organize my thoughts yesterday to write anything worthwhile on the subject. (I hear you laughing in the background, "..and since when has that stopped you?!")

I was stunned.

Imagine yourself in this scenario-

You're a huge Phillies fan and finally everything seems to be falling into place. They get to the World Series, go up 3-1, they have their ace pitcher on the mound for the next game and you get to go there. You get to see it all. You'll be there if they win and cheer as they jump up and down after the final out and then bring out the trophy. You'll be there with thousands of other fans just as excited as you are. Needless to say I walked around with a big stupid shit-eating grin on my face all day Monday.

You decide to go to the game early to tailgate a little bit and arrive in Lot K. You barely are able to get into the lot despite being there 3 1/2 hours before game time. It is a huge party atmosphere and everyone is ecstatic. You are with your 3 best friends and they are also excited and having a good time. You eat some hoagies, drink some beer, toss around a football in the lot and a few other freinds come up to meet you and party with you. There's a light drizzle the whole time and it's quite cold, but you couldn't care less. At 8pm you gleefully trot into the ballpark.

The park is absolutely electric, you're screaming and cheering before you even get to your seats. You're suddenly friends with 45,000 people you haven't met before. You high five complete strangers as they announce the lineups. They shoot off some fireworks during the national anthem and the Phils quickly put up 2 runs in the first inning. Cole is pitching great so you start to feel it, you're anticipating the championship.

And then the rain starts to fall harder. You pull out your poncho and keep mostly dry. Your shoes do get soaked and start to freeze in the bitter cold but you don't mind as you cheer and scream the whole game. Your friend, Mike, looks like a drowned rat and is shivering but he still finds the energy to shout things like, "Make them eat it Cole!" and "Stick it in there Shane!!" The weather even creates some horrible plays like an easy pop up that gets blown away from Rollins' glove. Puddles start to form in the infield as the grounds crew keeps running out there and putting more dirt on the base paths. The weather is the worst you've ever seen a baseball game being played in but the umps don't stop it.

The Rays manage to eke out a run to tie the game in the 6th as Cole clearly can't throw his best pitch, a change-up, since it requires a firm grip that is impossible to do in a nor' eastern storm. But still, you aren't miserable because you know the Phillies offense will come thru and win the game.

"There's no stopping us now!", you think to yourself just moments before you see the grounds crew grab the tarp and roll it out.

Bud Selig just hit the pause button.

When you have such a build up of emotion and excitement for something to happen and then your feelings have to be shelved for two days, it leaves you stunned, confused, a little angry and exhausted. It's like stopping yourself midstream while you pee - it isn't easy, it hurts and it probably isn't healthy to do it. I'm still amazed I didn't end up with blue balls after the game. At least if they lost, I still would have experienced some sort of release. I would have blamed a player or the manager and been upset until the next game, but I could have moved on. I'm not saying that I'd prefer a loss (oh God no!), I'm trying to describe what being in limbo feels like. No wonder limbo is often on the path to hell.

Neither did I want Selig to call the game and have the Phillies win it on the 5 inning rule. It's not like you want to tell your grandkids that you were there when the announced it over the PA system that the Phillies won the series. I understand the pickle that Selig was in, but he still is the commissioner and he should have started the game an hour early or suspended the game sooner.

So, here I sit, all pent up and ready again to see it all. The forecast looks clear, a bit windy and cold, but they should get the game complete. The Phils do have the advantage as they have 4 innings of at bats to the Rays' 3 innings. I still may get to see it all, but it would have just taken 52 hours to do it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

One more official retraction

Back at the trade deadline I had quite a strong reaction to the Phillies trading two very good prospects for Joe Blanton. In the comments section I mentioned that I hoped I was proven wrong.

I appears after the second half of the season and this postseason that I was indeed proven wrong.

I'm sorry Pat Gillick and I'm sorry Joe Blanton. You were decent enough to get us some wins and make the playoffs (Phillies were 11-4 in games he started) and have done very well in the post season, winning all 3 games you've pitched. IF the Phillies win it all tonight or this week, then you have to love the trade, even if Cardenas becomes a Hall of Famer. The ultimate goal is the trophy on the wall, after all.

I couldn't have planned it any better, just one more game

When I got my playoff ticket invoice in the mail and saw that I had game 5 of the World Series if the Phils won the NL pennant I remarked to myself that it would be cool if that game would be the clinching win for the series. 6 weeks later I am sitting in anticipation of going to the ball park where the Phillies send their best pitcher, Cole Hamels, out to the mound to win the championship clinching game of the World Series.




Cross your fingers folks, I just may be at the park the moment the Phils win it all!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm tired

Didn't get to sleep until at least 2:30AM last night. I stayed up to watch the Phils' win their second World Series game in a bizarre fashion of errors and strange managerial decisions. I'm somewhat subdued as a result due to the lack of sleep. I'm hoping that this all pays off and I'm standing in section 206 of Citizen's Bank Park tomorrow night as the Phils win it all. One can hope.

Since I'm tired I thought I'd post some things that I'm tired of seeig or hearing about or experiencing lately....

Things that I'm tired of:

The umpires' horrible and game effecting calls for this series.

The "Save by Zero" advertising campaign by Toyota.

The Phillies' inability to hit with runners in scoring position so far this series.

McCain/Palin lawn signs strewn everywhere on my way to work.

Tim McCarver and Joe Buck

Lil' Green Plant gift requests on Facebook

Lazy sports journalism where the writer from an opposing city reports on how horrible the Philly fan is and how we booed Santa Claus and throw batteries.

Artificial turf and domed stadiums for baseball.

My brother telling me what big game it is tonight and then yukking it up by saying he meant Penn State or the Flyers, etc.

Seeing low gas prices but not seeing prices on other things drop like UPS rates.

Political pollsters who read from a script. (I'll go into this one later this week)

Itchy dogs that lick and bite themselves in the middle of the night.

This throbbing hangover headache I'm experiencing at this very moment.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

An Utley and Hamels production

In my opinion the Phils' best position player and best pitcher are 2nd baseman Chase Utley and ace pitcher Cole Hamels. Both players are making me look good as they were the big heroes last night along with bullpen stoppers, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge. It was a nail biter of a game. The Phillies were able to get on base but just couldn't get runners in and set a record by going 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position. If not for Utley's 2 run homerun blast in the 1st inning and Ruiz's RBI grounder, there would have been no scoring for the Phillies.

Speaking of no scoring, Hamels held off the high offensive power of the Rays to just 2 runs and then Madson and Lidge came in the game and shut them down in a hurry. Hamels has become one of the elite World Series pitchers for the ages having received his 4th post season win. He will be the first starter to get 5 wins if he does it again. (Randy Johnson got 5 but one win was in relief)

Now that my summary is out of the way, let me say this-




Winning game one while playing away and with your ace on the mound is huge- you need to win those games. It takes some pressure off of Myers, who can be a huge head case. It guarantees a split before you come back home. And it's first blood. They made a statement last night. Again, the majority of experts are picking against the Phils. Yes, the Rays are the toughest opponent yet in the post season, but to easily dismiss this team is a huge mistake in my opinion. Game 2 two is tonight, I'm feeling greedy and want another win- Let's go Phils!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mets fans still bitter

I know this sounds like I'm making this up but I swear it's true-

So, on my lunch break I go to The Sports Authority in Warrington to get a Phillies sweatshirt to wear on Monday night since I am attending game of the World Series in person. I didn't want to get so cold and I still want to show my Phils' colors. IWhile I was there, in a manic-induced buying spree, I also decided to buy the Phillies hat with the "2008 World Seroes" patch. I've become a real big hat wearer since I've given up on having hair in the past year, so I figured it was worth buying.

On way back, I'm on Route 611 North and I get behind a Saturn sedan with the license plate "METSPHN". I think to myself that the gall that this douchebag would have to combine the "PH" with anything Mets related. So I get in the right lane and pull up next to the car with intentions of harassing him.

To my surprise, the driver was a late 50's early 60's woman that was 5 foot 1 at talelst- In other words, she was a little old lady. Not to be deterred by this discovery and to prove that I am neither an ageist nor a sexist, I went ahead with my heckling. I honked the horn a few times and took off my new hat and pointed to the WS patch. The woman immediately scowled at me and then hit the gas. She pulled ahead and then the bitchswerved into my lane, cutting me off, and flipped me the bird!!

I guess she wasn't too happy being reminded of the last two years?

Game one tonight folks!! Let's go Phillies!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Things that are 100% Real American

I've tried my best to avoid politics in my blog but every now and then, I see or hear something that just gets my goat enough to say something. Lately, the republicans have been throwing the words "Real American" around as if it means rural, God-fearing, hunting on the weekends, and hard working blue collar, white men. In an effort to create an us against them type of attitude they've dangerously crafted an atmosphere of not-so-subtle racism and anti-intellectualism. I honestly don't know if they're just trying to fire up the base or if they honestly think that they can appeal to undecided voters with such clap-trap.

So, in a an effort to clarify what is indeed a real American, the following is a list of things that are completely 100% American.





Comic strips and books

Square dancing



Rock N Roll


Mickey Mouse

Bugs Bunny

Fake Poop gags



Blue Crab







EDIT: Baseball & Poker (sheesh, how could I forget my two favorite hobbies?)

I could go on, but my point remains the same. That's quite an eclectic list and it includes all ethnic groups and by nature all American culture is a mixture or melding of different cultures.

So, please, let's cut the crap and stop talking about "Real Americans" as if it applies to one distinct group of people. The last thing we need to do is to divide ourselves instead of what real Americans actually do best- which is work and live together while maintaining in our own diversity.

Pinch me

Sexual innuendos put aside, I would like a good hard pinch to see if I'm dreaming. Tomorrow I get to watch the Phillies play in the World Series. It's been 15 years since the Phils last went to the World Series and 28 years since they won the whole enchilada. All in all, it's been 25 years since the last Philly championship in any of the 4 major sports. To say that I'm edgy, nervous, excited and elated all at the same time is somewhat of an understatement. I usually have guarded enthusiasm but now I'm willing to throw it all out there and pin my hopes on this team.

With free agency in today's sports you often don't get to see players come up through the minors and grow into stars and stay on the team for most of their careers. What's somewhat special about this team is that the Phils have quite alot of their stars come from their own system or players that that got their first real shot with them. Rollins, Utley, Howard, Hamels, Madson, Ruiz, Myers and Burrell are all guys that came up from the Phils' minor league system. Guys like Dobbs, Victorino, Coste and Werth are players who didn't do much of anything in the majors until they played with the Phils and are now integral parts of the team. This makes it more fun to root for the team as you feel more attachment to the players. Unlike the Yankees, Mets or Red Sox who overpay for their players, the Phillies have mostly grown and scouted their talent.

I can't say that I've been happy with the front office all of these years, but I need to give credit now before I change my mind. So, thanks Pat Gillick, Dave Montgomery, Ruben Amaro, Mike Arbuckle and even Ed Wade (who built the core of this team before getting canned). No matter what happens in the series, I haven't enjoyed baseball this much in a long time.

The Rays will be a hard team to beat, but I think the Phightin's have a real good shot to win in 6. Even better would be to win in 5 so I can personally see them win and have my car overturned in Lot K during the riots and celebrations. (meh, it's worth it, it's why we have insurance) Cross your fingers and give out a cheer- tomorrow is game one people!!


Monday, October 20, 2008

It's hard to talk about the elephant in the room when the elephant is you

Aside from being a skinny kid through the age of 8, I've always been overweight or had to really work at being thinner. I've had a few skinny periods where I really watched what I ate and exercised daily. Ages 16-19, 21-22, 29, 32-33, and 35 were all weight loss periods. But, alas, it seems that the skinny periods are fewer and further apart and currently I'm at my heaviest weight yet. I can blame genetics a bit as my mother's side was full with fatsos, my mother included. My father has a huge sweet tooth but stays rather fit despite that fact. Somehow my brother and I missed that luxury.

Nevertheless, I can't put the blame on my DNA in its entirety as my genes aren't what's putting big servings of high calorie food into my mouth, nor is it keeping me sedentary. In some ways, losing and keeping off weight is worse than quitting smoking. At least after a period of not smoking, you don't have to worry about maintenance, all you have to do is not smoke. While dieting, you still have to eat. You still go to restaurants and parties where there's lots of yummy treats. Plus, there's almost always something good on TV to watch or do on the internet to keep your fat ass in the chair. It would be as if I had to puff on a cigarette 4 times a day and not smoke any more than that. That would be next to impossible to do.

I don't go for the bullshit that you're always feeling hungry while on a diet because real hunger is when you get nothing to eat for hours. It's the cravings. You crave the sugars and the candy, the yummy fats and ice creams and the high carbs and salty chips. I know if you keep the treats to what they're supposed to be- treats, you would be much better off. But, I've been an all or nothing kind of guy. When I enjoy something I tend to go gung-ho, consequences be damned. It's a damn good thing that I never tried herion or coke.

There are times where I wish I had an automatic food dispenser and no other access to food. That way, the choice is taken away from me. If I wasn't allowed to make poor choices then I would be fine with whatever bland meals are chosen for me if I was hungry enough. Fuck free will! Who needs inalienable rights when you could have a smaller waist? Perhaps, I could also hire someone with an electric cow prod and they could get me going on the treadmill every day as well.

Am I that weak willed? Do I really need someone to force me to lose weight? I just don't know the answer anymore as it's obvious I haven't done much of anything about it lately. I let myself go north of 300 lbs and have to shop exclusively at big and tall stores. I'm positive that my wife finds me less attractive and my motivation to do physical things is not very high. I'm also getting older and being this heavy isn't very good for my health. Perhaps, I'm hitting some self realization now but I'm also afraid that those feelings don't always last very long when you have to put the nose to the grindstone. I probably need some external help of some sort but I can't stand groups like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. Am I doomed?

As helpless as this sounds, I know what needs to be done. I just need to do it.

So far, I've been very open in what I post on my blog and I don't wish to hold back now. I'm trying to convey what it's like to struggle with your weight and take some responsibility at the same time. Hopefully, I've just talked myself into being more active and eating less. Maybe my wife can show me this post when I seem to be off the wagon. I can't give up and have to keep trying. It took me at least 20 times before I finally quit smoking. Maybe it'll take 20 diets or more, but I can't give up. I need to be there for my wife and kids. They deserve it.

Just do me a favor and kick me in the ass once in a while- it's a pretty easy target to hit.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Billy goes to Newtown Brewfest

As banal and unfunny the Family Circus comic strip was (and still is), as a child I always did enjoy the ones where there was a map of the neighborhood and you could follow the dotted line to see where Billy went that day and what he did. Tomorrow my wife and I got the in-laws to babysit and we are joining my friend, Nicole and her husband Rob at the Newtown Brewfest. There we will get a tasting glass and get to sample beers from 80 different breweries and microbreweries. So, in honor of Bil Keane and his comic strip maps, here is what I think might happen tomorrow (click map for larger view):

1) Excited and fresh- Brian and Lynn park their 2003 Taurus in the lot and gleefully walk towards the first set of breweries' stands, they meet Nicole and Rob and check in to get their glass.

2) With his 2oz. tasting glass, Brian stops at every booth in the first row sampling each wonderful microbrew. He takes his time and enjoys each sip and every subtle nuance of the beers. By the time he gets to the end of the first row, he feels pressure in his bladder and heads for the port-a-potties.

3) Brian's first visit to the port-a-potties goes off without a hitch and he feels much relieved.

4) With an empty bladder Brian is starting to feel good, real good. Life is wonderful and there is another row of breweries to taste. As he samples more beer he tends to get a bit randy and smacks Lynn's butt a few times as they visit more breweries. The time spent at each stand gets shorter and shorter as Brian just sticks his glass out, chugs it and moves on to the next stand.

5) Feeling hungry Brian makes his way towards the food stands and notices a band playing some music. They mostly suck, but Brian grabs Lynn's unwilling hand starts to spin around and dance. When Lynn manages to get away, Brian grabs Nicole and flings her around swing style despite it being a slow song. Eventually Brian gets tired and heads toward the food stands.

6) After eating and making obvious and inappropriate jokes about sausages, Brian's buzz starts to wear off a bit and he starts to feel nauseous and is getting a headache. He heads towards the port-a-potties in the hopes that less bladder pressure will relieve him.

7) At the port-a-potties, Brian can't stomach the sausages anymore and power pukes just barely after he manages to get inside one.

8) With an empty stomach, Brian feels renewed and starts to sample more beers. After trying the Sly Fox beers, his walk is starting to show a pronounced swagger. Sensing that he is near the end of the line he makes a mad rush of trying every beer that he can; often he sneaks a second tasting.

9) Having tried almost every brew at the fest, Brian is now shit-faced drunk. He still has small chunks of puked up sausage on his shirt and is singing silly songs and changes the lyrics to his liking and amusement. He eventually gets into a fight with his embarassed wife, Lynn and wanders away by himself. He spies the building in front of him and sees the fire escape on the side of the wall. A very terrible idea jumps to the front of his thought processeses as he stumbles his way towards the building.

10) He manages to climb up the fire escape and gets on top of the building. He is on the roof shouting, "I am the lishard king!! And I can do whatever things I wansh!!" A crowd draws near as he dancing along the roof top. Suddenly Brian sees security and makes a dash for the edge of the roof.

11) Seeing a dumpster filled with cardboard below Brian jumps off and lands below. He sprains his ankle badly and is nabbed by the waiting police officers below. He is hog tied by handcuffs and dragged to the waiting police car.

12) Carted away by the Newtown police, Brian is singing in the back of the car. He thinks of how he can't wait til next year and what new adventures can be found at the 2009 Newtown Brewfest.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Feeding all my addictions at once

Last night I got to watch the Phillies win their first NL Pennant in 15 years and win some decent scratch at a poker game at the same time, not to mention I also got to drink some decent beer. The only thing missing was getting a BJ under the table. (and since Lynn reads this, I'll say that I wish it was her) Usually, I wouldn't mix everything up like that. Especially considering you need to concentrate to play poker effectively. But I was going to miss this month's tournament and was jonesing for some poker in a bad way. I am glad I went as the deck was hitting me hard in a good way most of the night.

You don't need to concentrate all that much when you flop trips 3 times in an hour, get the nut flush, recieve pocket Aces once and Kings twice. You basically put the money in the middle and hope that your hand holds up, which it did repeatedly last night. I would have been an even bigger winner had I not run into a few cooler spots towards the end. Nonetheless, I had managed to fold my way out of those spots, which is a good thing as I minimized my losses. I admit at times when I'm stuck or just break even for the night I'm more apt to call with weaker holdings out of frustration and/or boredom.

One of the funnier moments came when the host, "Lottery Larry", wasn't paying attention to the game and looked up while they were replaying Shane Victorino's grand slam in the divisional series 2 weeks ago. He pumped his fist and clapped his hand and let out a loud, "Yes! Home run!!" We all then laughied at his misunderstanding. I suppose the fact that the Phillies were in their home white uniforms and the Brewers being on the field didn't tip him off as to the fact it was a replay/flashback. Of course this led to some teasing the rest of the night. Everytime Fox would show a flashback we would scream something like, "Hey Larry! Look Dave Hollins hit a home run against Greg Maddux! Greg looks like he lost some weight!" or "Oh NO! Kirk Gibson hit a home run to win the game!!" Even when they weren't playing flashback clips we still made jokes like Del Ennis had hit a homer while he the TV went black and white.

Men are brutal, one sign of weakness and the rest of the pack will pounce.

I can haz Whirled Seriez PLZ?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My day in court

I've had my share of speeding tickets over the years. My lead foot is a byproduct of the "early gene" that I possess. I'm obsessed with time, thus I always feel the urge to get to where I'm going as fast as I can get there. As a result I sometimes get unlucky and fall victim to the dreaded speed trap. I got quite a few tickets while I attended college. Driving up and down 95 led me to get caught in Maryland a lot. Fortunately, I still kept my permanent residence in Pennsylvania so the points never transferred to my license. So, as long as I paid the fines, I would be okay for insurance. The two other times I got nailed for speeding locally the policeman always reduced the violation on the spot.

So, despite my proclivity for getting caught, I have yet to go to a courthouse and contest a ticket.

Until today.

Last month I was clocked at 72mph in a 55mph zone on Rte 263 on my to New Hope to see my Dad. The police officer didn't give me any breaks, so not wanting to get any points against my license (and have my insurance go up) I went to court to contest the ticket. The building itself was much smaller than I imagined. It was a township courthouse and not the county, so it was rather small by comparison. I got my name on the list and waited for my officer to arrive.

and waited...

and waited...

I went up to the secretary (or whatever she was, a clerk?) and informed her that it was 20 minutes past the assigned court time. At first I thought I lucked out as I always thought that if the officer doesn't show, you get off. But to my dismay another officer called my name and said he would represent my officer and asked if I would like to plea bargain before the hearing. Being inexperienced in the ways of traffic court, I figured that I should plea bargain rather take my chances that a substitute officer was prosecuting me in court would lead to a complete dropping of the charges. My old car sales experience did lead me to smell some blood in the water after he dropped the points off immediately, so I asked to have some of the fine reduced. He agreed and five minutes later I found myself in the court room and it was just like it looks on TV.

There was the judge's bench in front and a witness stand to the right of the bench. The officer told me to sit at the defendant's table (by myself- no lawyer!! Gasp!) as he sat at the prosecutor's table. The Judge then walked in and everyone stood up, I barely got a chance to straighten my knees before she informed us to sit down. She took a gander at the sheet and said, "Mr. Klaus, it appears that you are pleading guilty to a 5mph over the speed limit infraction." (which was the plea agreement) She paused as I realized that I was supposed to say yes, my nervousness got the better of me and I wasn't quite sure if I was supposed to admit guilt in court- 5th amendment rights and all that...

She had me come up to the bench and I changed my plea and signed a paper. She informed me that I would receive a refund for part of the fine, which I already paid in full, in the mail. I then asked if that was "it" and she replied yes. I answered, "So, you have no interest in what I was doing the night of January the 16th?"

"Not really, Mr. Klaus, save it for the county."

I see why Matlock and others think they can get the defendant to confess, I was willing to do just that and I was innocent.

3 Down

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bring out your dead

There must be something weird I am doing for this to happen. But in the last two post season appearances the Phillies have made I've been witness to the aftermath of a serious accident.

Last year when the Phils played in game 1 against the Rockies (which they lost), I drove down to see the game with my wife. We were complaining about traffic on route 309 South the whole way down as it was really slow and I was getting worried because I didn't want to be late for the 1st playoff game in 14 years. We felt horrible about complaining because we eventually came upon a construction worker on the side of the road who had a sheet pulled over him. I have no idea if he had a heart attack or was the victim of an accident. Didn't really matter, as dead is dead.

This past Friday my friend Jeff and I were giddy with glee as we left our seats. The Phils had just won game 2 of the series against the Dodgers. But our mood soured quickly as we ventured out to the stairwell from section 419 to see a lifeless body laying on the concrete on the concourse of the 300 level. We overheard that just seconds before the poor guy had fallen over the railing that overhung the stairs and from about row 9. Just from eyeballing it, I'd say it was at least a 30 to 35 foor drop. The man had already had scores of people trying to help so I said to Jeff that it would be best to just get out of the way and not stand around and gape.

It wasn't until hours later I learned from a fellow poster at (who I sold the seats next to me and Jeff to) that when he came upon the scene that the man was moving his fingers and had a brace on him as they were putting him on the stretcher. Now, it's comforting to know the guy is alive, but he could be majorly fucked up. It seriously freaked me and Jeff out as we were somewhat silent on the car ride back, especially considering the Phillies just won a huge game.

Had he died from the fall it would have been the 4th fresh dead body I have seen. (I'm not counting funerals) The first was my mother after she gave up the ghost on a gloomy February morning while I was showering. My brother came downstairs to find her dead as we had her home for hospice care for her terminal cancer. My father, broter and I all sat on the couch and looked at her in shock even though we knew that this moment was coming any day.

The next dead guy I saw was at the Trevose train station. I was parked waiting for my girlfriend and future wife to come home from Jefferson university. I was doing a puzzle and heard the conductor screaming at the top of his lungs, "Aw FUCK FUCK FUCK!!!" I looked up and saw a man laying on the tracks behind the SEPTA train. Lynn had found out the next day from other commuters that the man was from New York and was in Philly on business. He was taking the Septa train from Philly to Trenton and catching NJ Transit from there. He had fallen asleep and misheard the announcement of the Trevose stop for Trenton. Once he was off the train he realized his mistake and jumped back on the train without his briefcase. He jumped off again for the briefcase but had fallen under the train and was crushed to death.

I don't really care to see another dead body. Despite the fact that a dead body can't do anything to me, it is a harsh reminder of our mortality. I'd rather blissfully ignore that cold, hard reality as much as I can. It may, however, be more important to remember that for no reason, like that guy who fell asleep on a train, that stupid shit can happen at any time, no matter how careful you are.

Ooops, is this another Carpe Diem post?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I like being the underdog even though we're the better team

If you were to listen to the national media, you'd start thinking that the Phils aren't the favorites against the Dodgers. They cite that the Dodgers are much better since getting Manny. They hype up the hot finish that the Dodgers had. They bring up the daunting pitching staff as well. Well, all of those statements are true and that's why most "experts" seem to be picking the Dodgers.

But hold on a second...

For some reason they are overlooking a few facts about the Phillies.

As The Good Phight points out, the Phillies...

1) Have a better record than the Dodgers since they got Manny.
2) Finished the season much stronger.
3) Have an even hotter hitter in Ryan Howard
4) And their pitching is actually BETTER on the road than the Dodgers (as the Dodgers have an extreme pitcher favoring park)

Aside from Rob Neyer, who even refers to the Good Phight article, the Phillies just don't seem to be getting any respect nationally. Which is fine by me. The national press is lazy and usually gets it wrong. They run with hype instead of taking the time to look at reality.

I know that the Dodgers won't be push overs and the Phils most certainly could lose as it's just a best of 7 game series. (luck plays a bigger factor in short term results- the poker player in me knows this) But, don't worry about the big bad Dodgers, the Phils are a better team right now and have a better chance to win this.

We get the best of both worlds, we get to be the inspiring underdogs and the favorites at the same time. So when we win, we'll be the hyped team in the World Series.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Don't cry over spoiled milk.

One of the things about being married for over 10 years and being together for 14 years total is that you tend to get annoyed by stupid shit that your spouse does without fail. I know for a fact that I am guilty of my own transgressions so please don't think that I think I am without sin. My concept of what is "on time" bugs the crap out of Lynn as I get antsy if we aren't 15 minutes early to everything. I leave my dirty socks in the living room at the end of the night and I'm lazy when it comes to emptying the ice cube trays and refilling them. Lynn's quirk is that she always forgets to put dairy products back into the fridge.

Perhaps she forgets to put other things back into the fridge and I tend to only notice the butter, margarine, creamer, milk, cheese and sour cream more often since it is more apt to spoil after being out of the fridge. Perhaps, she's being passive aggressive and knows that it annoys me and she does it on purpose. I am of the theory that the dairy turns invisible to her eyes only after it is used. It could be the only logical explanation.

Don't think I'm joking about this. It may not turn physically invisible, but it could be a mental block for her. The occurrence of her leaving the dairy out has increased exponentially in the past 2 years. After dinner, it is my job to clean up since she does the majority of the cooking. At that point, I'll see the half and half or heavy cream sitting out on the counter that she used to make the chowder. Or it could be the margarine that she used to grease the pan that's sitting out and it's turned all soft. The worst is when she uses dairy for her own use and I am not there to clean it up. Sometimes, I'll venture into the kitchen for a snack and see that the cream cheese has been out for 3 hours.

Little annoyances like this are just that, little. But when your mood turns sour as the milk in my house and you get into a snit with the wife, the gauntlet is thrown down and you start to jab each other with insensitive comments about their stupid habits. "Well, at least I'm not poisoning our children with moldy cheese!" is a reply I might've used during a recent argument. All of the little annoyances you ignore over the years tend to fester inside and build up and get thrown into that hum dilly of an argument you have about 3 times a year. Then you and your spouse tend to do your best to correct the behavior for about a month until you slip back into old habits again.

At least the government sets price controls on dairy so if the milk does spoil we aren't losing much money. Again, I stress that this is no big deal. It's just funny that we can get so upset over stupid shit like this. It shows that the quality of our life is pretty good that dirty socks and warm butter is enough to throw you for a loop. It's the relative nature of things and it's a sign that things are pretty good if the worst to be upset over is spoiled milk.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

O' Gary! Where art thou?

I've reconnected with quite a few old friends in the last 2 years. There's only a few friends left that I'd like to know what they're up to and hear from again. Of those people, I have no idea where to find any of them. They haven't left any internet footprints as far as I can tell. No Facebook, no linkedin, no myspace, etc. Well, all except one.

My old friend Gary I have found. Thanks to a few educated guesses and some internet research, I know where he lives and works. I have sent him 2 emails. Our mutual friend, Andy, has also called and left a detailed message with his assistant. Another mutual friend, Adam, has spoken to his father and told him we are trying to contact him. I even sent him a gift via UPS with a hand written note with all sorts of personal touches. I know he is in possession of the package as UPS tracking shows he received it today.

If I don't hear from him by Friday, I can only assume that he wants nothing to do with us. While I will respect that wish, I will feel somewhat insulted and depressed at the same time. Gary was a great guy and had the best sense of humor. I was friends with him in high school and for one year in college as he also attended the University of Maryland before transferring to Rutgers. (If I recall correctly he attended Maryland because I jokingly said to him when I was a freshman there and he was a senior in high school, "If you apply, you'll get in.")

Gary was a rebel in the truest sense of the word. He didn't give a shit about authority and would mock it openly. While he wasn't a trouble maker, he would drive his parents crazy with his long jewfro locks of hair that covered his eyes and his winter coat that he would wear all year long. I would refer to that coat as his garbageman coat (and still do). That coat was an ugly olive green with a fake polyester shit-brown fur trim on the hood. The lining was neon orange and he would never zip it up and was constantly pulling at it to keep it on his shoulders.

Gary was part of the comedy team I founded during my senior year at high school that we called The BBC (Bill Behun Comedy Team). His nickname for the team was "hatchet man". The running joke was that Gary was always last to join us in our endeavors and unfortunately life is imitating art 20 years later. (which would be fine if he does finally join us for the reunion in November) Gary added his take on the absurdity of establishment during our short but productive run with The BBC.

Gary managed to attract some unusually quirky people to his clique of friends. I think it was because he didn't judge them for their strangeness as he probably felt like an outsider himself. I don't mean that he was a nerd, because he wasn't the classic pocket protector kind of guy (although, he was extremely smart). He was that awkward, tall and gangly kid who listened to punk music but wasn't scary and was instead quite approachable. He was arty without the pretension. He would love to just hang out and talk and joke around.

Somewhere, somehow and some time in the last 20 years he stopped making fun of the establishment and became one of them as he's now a personal injury lawyer. Maybe that's why he hasn't responded. Maybe he remembers what he was like and what he stood for and feels like he can't go back.

So Gary- if you ever read this, we still love you and we are still your friends. I would like to know what you have done for the past 18 years and tell you all about my family and what my life is like now. I would like to reconnect.

It's been too long, man.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Around the world in 80 minutes

My Oktoberfest party was a lot of fun. Lots of beer and sausage were consumed as the German tradition dictates. The pumpkin ale was somewhat disappointing. The beer itself wasn't that bad, but I thought it would taste, well...more pumpkiny. It had a nutmeg smell but no real spicy taste nor any real pumpkin flavoring. The Sam Adams Octoberfest was great as always and the Long Trail was some really good stuff. My friend Nicole brought some Magic Hat as well so there was enough beer to get me intoxicated to say the least.

The sausage was also great, especially the veal sausage. We got it from Illg's meats and it was mind blowingly good. I did purchase way too much strudel so I had to push it on people as they were leaving. With all of those elements and add the fact that my name is Klaus, the party was certainly very German. However, as the party started to wind down to a small handful of people, for some strange reason we experienced more of an Asian flavor.

My friend, Karen, doesn't eat red meat so I can only assume she getting hungry considering we didn't offer much in the way of vegetarian or poultry. She was asking me during a conversation (and I was already quite drunk at this point) where I get my Sushi from. I informed her of Eastern Dragon, the Chinese/Japanese place down the road from us and how their Volcano roll is amazing. Lynn even added her 2 cents and recommended the New Ware Roll. Before you know it, we were ordering delivery of 3 plates of sushi. (Crazy tuna to round out the trio)

As we waited for the delivery, I began to straighten up the place a bit. I found out later that Karen was leading my wife, Karen's friend, and my wife's co-worker in different yoga poses. It later led to us devouring the sushi in no time and eventually everyone was playing Wii tennis and bowling. Thus, we added some Indian and Japanese culture to the party to make it an Eurasian experience.

If you couldn't make it this year then hopefully we'll see you next year. Unless, of course, we both die in a horrible plane crash. In which case- hold an Oktoberfest party in our honor.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Now serving at Oktoberfest

My wife and I had a fun fall party last year and we've decided to do it again this year. It will most likely become an annual event. Although, as my father gleefully points out our error, Oktoberfest in Germany is actually held in September. Thus, this year we are having it closer to the beginning of the month for more authenticity. Nevertheless, most of my friends are Jewish and they have no clue anyways. We'll be serving plenty of sausages (aka "traif") and I will have lots of beer available-

In bottles, I have a fall variety pack of Long Trail beers. Long Trail is an excellent brewery located in Vermont. The variety pack includes: Long Trail Ale, Traditional IPA, Blackberry Wheat (I'm looking forward to trying that one), and their Harvest beer. We'll also have some leftover Sam Adams Cherry Wheat beer.

Harvest beer is probably the same thing as the Octoberfest beers you see all over the place now. A nice rich lager with caramel flavors and a spicy aftertaste. Which brings us to what's on tap...

I have 2 sixthles on tap. The first is a must for this time of year and is one of my all time favorite beers, Sam Adams Octoberfest. This year's brew is especially nice and goes down easy.
I also have taken a step on the wild side and decided to go crazy, I have a kegful of Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale. Hopefully, it goes over well tonight or else I might be stuck drinking pumpkin pie for a month.

I almost got a keg of the new Budweiser American Ale. They had some to sample at the beer store yesterday and I was really surprised as to how good it was. If you get a chance to get some in a bar, I recommend it. Of all the big breweries, I think Bud and Michelob does the best job of making mass produced beer. I'll still always prefer microbreweries, but their small inroads into the profits of the big breweries has caused them to start making some decent stuff. Competition is always a good thing.

For those who couldn't make it to the party this year, I say, "Too bad, you're going to miss a good time and hopefully we'll see you next year!". For those of you who I will see tonight, I say, "PARTY!! WOOOOOOOO!!!! GO PHILS!!!"

Thursday, October 2, 2008

See C.C., si? No

Had a great time at the game yesterday despite some nasty weather and getting rained on for a few innings. Cole Hamels lived up to his website and pitched just about as good as you can pitch. It may have been the best Phillies' pitching performance in a playoff game including some great ones pitched by Carlton and Schilling. There wasn't much offense aside from a nice 3 run inning that was somewhat lucky (a few dropped balls by the Brewers). Plus it was a gut wrenching 9th inning to watch as Lidge was unusually unstable, although, he did manage to strike out the side. No matter how the outcome was reached, I was a happy man as it was the 1st playoff win by the Phightins since 1993.

Today, we get see which Brett Myers shows up. Brett had an awful first half that led him to a stint in the minor leagues for a few starts. When he came back he pitched better than ever and then had a few shaky games in his last two starts. I'm also nervous due to the fact that C.C. Sabbathia is starting for the Brewers. C.C. has been dominating since being traded from the Indians and was the main reason that the Brewers reached the post season despite their best efforts to fall short of the flailing Mets. The good news is that C.C. has pitched 4 times in the last 12 days. Not a good thing for a staters in today's baseball. Hopefully the Phils can make him throw alot of pitches and get their way to the soft buillpen that the Brewers sport.

Due to a mix up when I was purchasing playoff tix (I got an extra set of game 5 tix instead of getting a set for game 2) I am not attending this game. The bright side is that there's a chance that the game will be over by the time the Vice-presidential debate starts at 9pm. And I do love a good train wreck.

Here's hoping for win #2!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Game 1

I'm off for game 1 of the divisional series against the Brewers!