Episode two, Overcooked.

Zosky over Abbott.

Eddie Zosky, that is, drafted at auction over 1994 revelation Kurt Abbott.

I could open this discourse on my second season in rotisserie from various angles — drafting, surprisingly cheaply, Chipper Jones; actually proving myself to be a real person, & not just a set-up for my uncle having two dreams, using one to feed the other — but I think my failure in drafting, my first draft, is indicative of the season at hand, & the individual — fifteen, just out of work (I had had to give up my paper-route when the local dailies had merged into one morning edition), daring the gauntlet of high-school a still friendless geek, on his fifth school since fifth grade — writing this account, but then, age fifteen.

I was  impulsive (still am) & anxious & beset by a too long & vivid memory (still that, too). Getting to the end of the draft, having shortstop to fill, I thought I hit on the answer: erstwhile Blue Jays prospect Eddie Zosky, transitioned to the third year Marlins. Little did I know… the incumbent short, Kurt Abbott, despite not appearing on the 25 men Marlins roster in Baseball Weekly (so long ago, this telling, the Gannett sporting weekly remained known as Baseball (not Sports) Weekly), & even more, having been left off the seven-to-fifteen men reserve of the reigning champion Simoniacs, held his starting position in Miami, pending return from the DL.

So, for ten cents, I drafted Eddie Zosky, & closed out my twenty-three men roster.

A round & an half later, also for ten cents — as well, the same price as he had paid the year before — the Simoniacs drafted Kurt Abbott.

(Not wanting to relive the horror, I will not recite the baseline offensive numbers (average, home-runs, RBI, runs, stolen bases) of Abbott versus Zosky. Though I will admit, coming away from his championship in the inaugural Domeball season, Simoniacs led the table, again, in the “inaugural” Dome & Dumber season. (Trying to purge the bile of the ’94 MLB season ending work stoppage & start fresh, the league’s adult members decided on a pop cultural signifier, that would never prove dated, as the new league name.))

So, I began the season underprepared, participating in the auction via speakerphone, groggily, early on a Sunday morning in late April 1995, & underwhelmed.

Quickly, a team boasting a solid first-year nucleus (Hentgen, Mussina, Bottalico, Wohlers; Klesko, Morandini, Sprague), & to which eventual NL Rookie of the Year Chipper Jones was added, fell into the second division.

I flailed, not altogether attentively, across the balance of the season, focused as much on trying to scratch out pocket money mowing lawns & watering gardens, & watching Late Nite with Conan O’Brien (I still can recall, vividly, Karl “Oldie” Olson running the “Olympic Torch” for the benefit of the insomniac audience), as I were on trying to climb from a solid fourth to a money finish.

& I ended up finishing last. No money won. Not even losers’s bracket consolation.

Eighth place.

& to add insult to injury, once the ’95-6 Hot Fuckin’ Stove began simmering, I traded Chipper Jones & Ricky Bottalico to the ascendant Rest Home for Old Pitchers, likely paving the way for the result in ’96, for the never to steal 13 more bases, for his career, Mo Vaughn.

But those mistakes, at least, I have the excuse of youth.

& the 1995 order of finish, for the Dome & Dumber league of quite ordinary gentlemen:

01) Nadel’s Simoniacs

02) Reidy Can’t Fail (Rest Home for Old Pitchers)

03) Manhattan Transfer (Jeff Ilta Fish)

04) Hammer’s Henchmen

05) Friends of Chelsea

06) Fighting Slugs

07) Snoballers

08) Fighting Manicotti

& I had miles to go before being a champion… Miles to go…. & still do.

The year’s music selection:

Apropos of my descent,  “Low“.

& now, the Democrat Party.

Whoa. Once more, I shirked my writing obligations — which were, all the same, to myself, & my own edification — but I have returned. With a decision: this blogging, should it persists, should draw a bit narrower a band around topics. Less local interest, a bit less sports — just politics, presidential politics, c. 2016, & rotisserie baseball. If I cannot muster motivation to write on those, then any other targets I might pursue will prove for nought.

As it goes, I spoke to the GOP primary field — to debut, from now, in but half a year — as that will be the more dysfunctional, & diverting, & entertainingly dysfunctional half of the national political duopoly. There remains, though, something to be said for the reigning White House occupiers, seeking the first three-terms control of the White House since the 1989 inaugural. (Though a certain type would suggest that the Clinton years segued into four more of Gore, following another bend in space-time than we otherwise knew.)

Who, then, to square off with the GOP governors’s ball of Brownback & Daniels in the November 2016 general elect?

One: Brian Schweitzer. The likeliest to declare an exploratory committee before the fall mid-terms, & the one getting the most favorable — or, at least, frequent — pub from the major news networks & organs, the ex-governor from Montana will not run. He is positioning himself as the new Howard Dean: stock-straight, straight-shooting governor from a largely unpeopled state that, still, speaks to the populist streak in the Party that most candidates tend to ignore. Sometimes, to the nominee’s peril. (Cough, there goes 2000, again, in the rearview.) The difference between Schweitzer & Dean, though, is a matter of polish, & upbringing. Yes, we remember the fiery Iowa caucus night roar from the ex-governor of Vermont, but until that moment, the Doctor-Governor-Future Party Chairman spoke with the mild blandishments of a patrician physician from the Northeast. In other words: in the style of the elite media that covers the horserace. He was a villager, even if he was amenable to burning the village down. (Or, more likely, its consensus, in the way of the Iraq conflict. (Here, I can draw a comparison between Dean’s tepid reaction to the capture of Saddam Hussein & Schweitzer’s recent remarks on Cantor’s closet.)) Schweitzer, meanwhile, is a Rocky Mountain lifer, rancher, whose earthy tones, while seemingly of a piece with the straight-talk of 2000 Walnuts! that so appealed to the media, are the non-distilled version. Mc Cain, like Dean, was a villager: grandson & son of Admirals, Annapolis graduate himself, a DC pol from almost the moment he checked-out of the Hanoi Hilton, the Arizona Senator spoke as a first language the white papers of Brookings & Heritage. Schweitzer does not have that. He has the “well, spit” simplicity of the SKOAL Rebel — but he’s in the wrong party for that, regardless — & that just will not play. Expect him to go the way of another Northern governor unable to tread water, then: out before the first primaries & cauci (?), but not without having grifted a few hundred thou from a campaign book. Schweitzer’s is 2016’s Gov. Auto-Tune.

Two: Hillary! Let me start by saying I prefer the ex-Senator, ex-Secretary, & ex-First Lady’s effort to her husband’s. & had Bill Clinton not pursued an executive position as, first, Arkansas governor, &, later, U.S. president, I could have seen an alternate-track Hilly Rodham Clinton shooting for the White House from Governor of Illinois or Senator from Connecticut. (This assumes, in that marriage’s division of labor, Hillary had been the candidate, & Bill the law professor.) Instead, Bill got to the Oval Office first — &, likely, last. That is to say: Hillary’s best chance to win may have been 2004 — promise to serve out her first term as NY Senate, in full, be damned — when she could have run as the Al Gore surrogate, the third Clinton term to contrast with the misdirection the country took following the disposition of the Florida uncount. But, in attempting the anti-Clintonian of promise-keeping (at least, in contrast to the media narrative of Pres. Bill, & to a marginally lesser extent, First Lady Hill, as serially prevaricating), Hillary waited ’til after Bush had run his constitutional course, to try. & by that point, she was late. & she’ll be later still, eight years after ’08. To wit: I expect, should she run — & I am still not sold on Hillary determining she needs the White House to leave her mark as a stateswoman; she can just as well, if not more, affect international policy from the Clinton Global Initiative — that Hillary will not enter the fray ’til at least July 2015. & with her ability to draw donors hand over fist, it won’t be too late, in way of funds. But in way of connectivity, yes, it will. She will attempt to bigfoot the 2016 Democratic nomination fight, just as Rick Perry attempted to do in the GOP nomination cycle in 2012. & while Hillary’s eventual primary failure will not be one of simplicity, as it were with Perry, it will still, simply, fail.

So, if not Schweitzer, if not Hillary — whom?

The Democratic field in 2016 will draw from among these candidates:

Martin O’Malley: assuming a Democratic transition in the Maryland Governor’s race, the outgoing executive will quickly launch his exploratory committee — expect first donation solicitations in inboxes before Christmas 2014, if not Thanksgiving — & do the rounds of pancake breakfasts in Iowa & New Hampshire. He will tout his small state — by physical size, at least — origin in those, & to the party base, his record on gun control, gay marriage, & worker rights/minimum wage .He will seem a formidable candidate, but being from Maryland, a bit too close to DC for a non-incumbent. Do not expect him to last past the earliest primaries (Nevada, South Carolina).

Sherrod Brown: the two-term Ohio Senate will run as the avuncular Elizabeth Warren surrogate, He will draw from the same well as her, but with more background in politics & legislation. He will run longer than O’Malley, but honestly, he will be running for VP.

John Hickenlooper: microbrewer, Colorado governor, overseer of the legalization of simple possession (“holding”, as the kids say) & a surprisingly robust (Purple State) Obamacare exchange, & the only pol to follow thru with gun legislation in the wake of the various mass shootings of the past three or four years. He will run as a decisive executive, unskewed by polling, unscared of extremists, from the state that hosted Obama’s first nominating convention. He will be a formidable candidate.

Jeff Merkley: assuming he wins against Tea Party bunny-boiler Monica Weeby in the Oregon Senate general, the Northwest maverick will attempt to trade on progressive prescriptions but bipartisan credentials to win the media primary & ride that wave of favorable coverage to nomination. Or, at least, VP.

Raul Grijalva: Arizona House, & leader of the Progressive Caucus, the darling of the public option will run an insurgent campaign from the left, but more importantly, the first credible Presidential effort by a Latino. As with Jesse Jackson before him, he will not win. But just seeing his face on the dais will serve well. Particularly in drawing out the Hispanic electorate that will be crucial at the end of the campaign. (Expect him in a cabinet posting — Interior, perhaps — should the Democrats win.)

Harold Ford, Jr.: ex-Representative from Tennessee, putative challenger to NY Senate post-Hillary, non-white cover for Republicans steering policy toward the 1%. He will run, lie thru his teeth, be top three in an initial poll or three (“he speaks so well”), but fizzle. But, as with Schweitzer, it’s not a campaign to win. It’s a campaign in lieu of finding a real job. Grifters gonna grift.

Mark Warner; Jimmy Carter. Bill Clinton. John Edwards. “Only a Southern Democrat can hold up nationally”. The latest iteration, weaker still, of the rump Donkey that still wags the tail of too much of the pundit class. (Looking at you, Carville.)

Sheldon Whitehouse: patrilineality is destiny.

Jeanne Shaheen: assuming she can withstand the monster truck rally insurgency of Senator Cosmo, the New Hampshire senior Senator will be the woman in 2016’s field. (As I said, above, I am unconvinced that Hillary will decide to relive the hell of the VRWC.) & in that, with the electorate in the primary ready for Hill, ready to collapse the eighteen million times cracked ceiling, the moderate from New England, from the lead primary state, will likely be one of the last three standing.

But: she will not win. If I am calling this, now, it will be Hickenlooper. Nobody has his name on the shortlist, but coupling the success of the Colorado Obamacare install, with the progressive bona fides (not stymying the legal weed vote in Colorado, signing gun control legislation in the wake of Aurora), plus the western location, the Rocky Mountain pol has the resume to win independents &/or “independents” in November while not losing the hard &/or hardish left. (Cough, there’s Gore/Liebermann, again. &, hi, Ralph!)

It’s Hickenlooper, with a VP nod for Gillebrand from NY. Possibly the greatest number of syllables in any Presidential elect since the end of the Second World War. & they will accept their noms in Salt Lake City.

(Alternately: if Shaheen pulls it out, it will be a Shaheen/Gary Locke (ex-governor of Washington, ex-Commerce secretary, erstwhile ambassador to China) ticket. Certainly an intriguing notion, & will look geographically similar (NH/WA) to the ticket I am betting (CO/NY 2016), but doubtful. Just as Grijalva will only go so far, Shaheen will only get just a bit further. Baby-steps.)

& now, I look forward to the first Hickenlooper-Brownback debate, from the University of Louisville, on 5th October 2016. 

Running out of & into town on a rail.

Earlier, in my presentation of a plan for the redevelopment of the arena district on North Fourth, I referred to a rail transport running the length of Fond du Lac Avenue from North Sixth to North 60th, with a transit hub at the former Capitol Court/current Midtown. I indicated, as well, this rail development as a farsighted, more worthwhile variation on the boutique tram planned for North Farwell, connecting the Lower East Side to to the Park East, with lines in addition to the Northwest branch navigating Milwaukee’s Central City (northerly parts, anyway). Now, I offer the other two lines, meant to serve as replacement to automotive traffic into the Downtown office core.

Already, we know the Downtown North transit hub, modelled on the Intermodal at West Saint Paul, will abut a new development for Milwaukee’s university & college soccer teams (which will also be an inducement for greater penetration into this market by MLS, in the guise of Chicago’s Fire), with an opposite station at Midtown, featuring a three level parking deck on the intersection of 60th & Fond du Lac for use by northwest side commuters & others going into Downtown from the Timmerman neighborhood & points beyond. A second, mirroring line will run on West Beloit Road, this one quite a bit further inland, beginning at the controversial traffic circles & park-&-ride lot at the Moorland Road off-ramp for Interstate 43 South. There, between the Quaker Steak & Lube & park-&-ride will be a redeveloped parking lot — again, actually, a deck, likely three stories — & transit station at Beloit, across from the entrance to the Target-anchored shopping development. The train, then, will run east-west, along Beloit, from just east of Moorland to the intersection, in West Milwaukee, of West Beloit & West Greenfield; at Greenfield, it will turn right & run along the latter to South Second. This line, principally, will serve the rapidly growing population of New Berlin, Brookfield, & Muskego, while serving to draw development to the sporadically utilized Southwest corridor. Stops will be at Moorland East, Sunny Slope, 124th Street, 121st/Southwest YMCA, Highway 100, 99th Street, 92nd Street, 84th Street, Mc Carty Park East, 74th Street, 65th Street, 59th Street, & Greenfield, then cotinuing to 42nd Street, 35th Street, 27th Street, & 16th along that east-corridor perpendicular to the lake. At the terminal point, on South 2nd, a second transit hub, Fifth View (a portmanteau of Fifth Ward & Bayview), there will be a transfer to the South 2nd-Water Street connector, running from Greenfield Avenue north to East Knapp & a short walk across the river to the Downtown North hub at Sixth & Mc Kinley.

All told, Milwaukee will, in five-to-ten years time, boast a network of passenger rail covering 25 miles & serving the conduits on which the suburban & exurban flight arrives into the Downtown of their most feared & hated city to make the money that supports their Tea Party lifestyle. That is, if my plan were to go thru, which doubtless it will not. Nor, as well, the eventual extension of the Second-Water connector to the Mitchell Airport terminal via a Second-Howell run terminating at Grange Avenue. 

But, one can dream.

& that I do.

 

Episode I, “We play by sense of smell”.

I was thirteen years old, an eighth grader, & paperboy. Two years returned to the Westallica ranch that had offered me life’s first permanence since age five — just five, the day after my birthday, eating leftover chocolate layercake & drinking Coca-Cola on the still tableclothed & extra-leafed dining set at my then-home in Jefferson Heights (I only use the development/neighborhood name as has become the custom of those my age, & up to five years older & ten, twelve years younger, in my hometown) — I was an inveterate baseball fan but hardly physically equipped for the game. Husky (to put it politely), gawky, anxious (though all of those, it would turn out, for congenital cardiac reason (but how should I have known my debilities were rooted in something beyond “morbid obesity”? less, how were my pigheaded phys ed teachers to know I wasn’t just a fat slacker slouching toward a pussy’s “C” in a class that doesn’t matter for GPA?)), I could never play the game. But I followed. Managed to get to five, six games a year, by the hometown nine, & in my free time, crafted alternative line-ups, shifted pitchers from pen to rotation & back. I was a pocket-protected, basement-dwelling “quant” in training.

Then, in February, with my birthday approaching, I got a call from my DMV based uncle. He was a bit of a baseball fan himself, & player beside (first, on the Milwaukee Sentinel softball team, then in a men’s senior league upon his relocation to suburban Washington). As it were, he had taken a new job, to that point, at a newsletter & policy interpretation shop later to be bought by a three-time mayor of New York City. In such capacity, he had acquainted himself with a man to whom I will refer as B. who was interested in expanding his baseball fandom beyond rooting for his beloved, & usually terrible, Phillies, & into a season-to-season interest in the game itself. Already, he had found a few other associates at the publisher, plus his ninth grade son, to join a fantasy league, & given my uncle’s obvious diamond affections, B. invited his colleague from the environment section to join.

& given the involvement of B’s son, S., in the league, my uncle figured it worth a try to get his own 13, almost 14, years old baseball fan nephew enrolled. B., of course, obliged.

So, a year out from my own research into rotisserie baseball — I had borrowed the handbook written by the Johns Appleseed of the alternative baseball reality, Daniel Okrent & Glen Wagoner, from the municipal library branch after becoming engrossed by the fantasy column appearing weekly, under the byline of John Hunt, in the once-but-never-again Baseball Weekly that I would buy from the convenience mart at the end of my paper-route — I was in a league. A thousand miles away from home. (Perchance, this, the germ of my wanderlust, which at first did rest itself on aspirations of living in the Nation’s Capital; of course, the desire to get out of the 414 was more than just a rosin dust fever dream, instead fuelled by my obvious deviation from the worldly townieism endemic to those from this place.) 

Next, since I would not be available to DC for the new league’s auction, I had to compose a masterlist of players for my uncle, who would be my proxy, to vie for. Mostly, I transcribed the Atlanta Braves roster — with a coupla players from among the leagues other nine MLB constituents (the American & National League East Divisions, c. ’94 — Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, New York (Mets & Yankees), Philadelphia, Toronto) — as I had become a bit of a fan, living in South Carolina in ’91, when the morbund Terminus Tribe advanced from a league worst finish to division championship to appearance opposite Minnesota’s Twins in the World Series. (Indeed, I was a bandwagoner.)

&, then, the draft: joining B. & S. at their Mount Pleasant rowhouse, the other five District & District-adjacent ownership. We were the Domeball League of Rotisserie Baseball (Domeball, for short), & name taken from the logo of the publisher for whom six of the eight original owners worked.

  • Snoballers (B’s team)
  • Friends of Chelsea (S’s)
  • Jeff Ilta Fish (operated by an as expected obnoxious Philadelphian named, coincidentally, Jeff)
  • Skullcrushers (operated by T., a pathetic Red Sox fan)
  • Simoniacs (operated by another man named Simon (as the Friends of Chelsea operator shared the name))
  • Rest Home for Old Pitchers (operated by M., another pathetic Red Sox fan)
  • Fighting Manicotti (my team, named by my uncle, as I liked the word “manicotti” in my boyhood; I think I liked “mucus”, more, but “Fighting Mucus” would have been a bit too outre for a button-up DC league)
  • Fighting Slugs (my uncle’s, named after his Sentinel softball team)

In the inaugural Weekend at B-‘s I following, the twenty-three players teams were apportioned, limited by a salary cap of 26$ (we were, & remain, a lower-rent league; the full entry was 65$, 31 of which went to the prize-pool (80% to first, 20% to second), with the pool inclusive transactions fees collected at season’s end), so as to ensure no superstar teams, & I ended up with several Braves. Though I cannot remember my full squad, I do know the first-ever Manicotti (though I have gone thru several names since, all to be elaborated with each year’s summary) boasted

  • Damon Berryhill, C, Boston
  • Orestes Destrade, 1b, Florida
  • Mickey Morandini, 2b, Philadelphia
  • Kevin Stocker, Ss, Philadelphia
  • Ed Sprague, 3b, Toronto
  • Chuckie Carr, Of, Florida
  • Mike Greenwell, Of, Boston
  • David Justice, Of, Atlanta
  • Deion Sanders, Of, Atlanta
  • Steve Avery, P, Atlanta
  • Shawn Boskie, P, Philadelphia
  • Ricky Bottalico, P, Philadelphia
  • Pat Hentgen, P, Toronto
  • Mike Mussina, P, Baltimore
  • Mark Wohlers, P, Atlanta

(&, surprisingly — or maybe not, given my memory, generally — I am able to recall 15 players on my first of 21 (so far) rotisserie team.)

& I did well that year. Even for only a month & change of Chuckie Carr, & four from Deion, I ran up points in steals, used my steady core of starters Hentgen & Mussina to stay in the first division in wins & strikeouts (with sturdy ERA & Innings Pitched Ratio, as well), & ended up fourth. I also added insult to Mike Greenwell’s psychic injury of losing the ’88 MVP to Roid Monster Jose Canseco by trading eventually-exposed rager David Justice (though, Halle Berry’s face could have told us this) for BALCO witness Gary Sheffield.

(& in the earlier trade of Chuckie, I netted Bob Wickman & Ryan Klesko — in a three-team swap that sent pre-comeback Eric Davis & end-of-the-line Mike Henneman to my uncle, & Chuckie & Shawn Boskie to the Fish — & made myself quite possibly the only owner to get better than Jeff in a trade with him. & thus I shall remain, since he recently departed the league.)

But, that trading action only took me so far. & paired to the season-ending player strike, my ascent stopped in fourth. My last memory of the ’94 baseball season was the final home game of the Brewers season, a mid-August date with Baltimore’s Orioles, my ace, Mike Mussina, twirling for the Birds. &, yes, he won that one.

& on August 12, we, the fans — not just the rotisserie obsessives — lost. Owners dug in their heels, workers refused to heel. A season lost, a team, on the St. Lawrence, sent spiraling toward the Potomac, an accidental commissioner having been thrown overboard & replaced by an accident-prone acting commissioner for life from my city led baseball into its decline phase. (In fact, I used to serve him hot-dogs & Diet Cokes in my mid-high-school employment at Gilles’s.)

Domeball did not shutter itself, though. Most having lived to see several baseball lockouts & strikes, it was assumed the season, shortened, would recommence, by Labor Day (oddly enough), if nothing else.

No restart arrived.

So, the season ended. The final standings:

  1. Simoniacs
  2. Jeff Ilta Fish
  3. Friends of Chelsea (actually, in a second place tie)
  4. Fighting Manicotti
  5. Snoballers
  6. Fighting Slugs
  7. Skullcrushers
  8. Rest Home for Old Pitchers

The Simoniacs, led by stalwart Greg Maddux & rising star Bernie Williams, had run away with the championship. Jeff & S., in a preview of their frequent jousts, in team-play & trades, battled to a draw for the remaining pot. (If I had to hazard, I would say Simoniacs took home about 240$, while the sister-kissing seconds got 30$ each. Which would be a lot of money to a ninth grader.) & the Skullcrushers & Rest Home, true to their MLB rooting interest, were pathetic. Though Trader Jack in the cellar, even having failed to deal “Sweet” Lou Frazier for future considerations, would have his revenge in years hence.

1994 in rotisserie baseball was the start of something… Well, something, anyway, then. Something that still breathes — in fact, thrives; we have churned thru four owners, five more, getting younger, more MLB rooting diverse, & expanding into clubs beyond the Eastern seaboard (granted, neither Detroit nor Toronto is an Atlantic city) in the many years since. But the two decades of continued adventures self-chosen for another day.

***

Postscript: I think the premature end to MLB’s season, the never-consummated Ersatz Series of Yankees vs. Expos that was teased but pulled out from our feet, actually enhanced my desire to play this wacky game. Though my skill never really improved in all the years since. But, that might not be the point, for me. Maybe, & especially in the last three, four years, it’s been more to have fun, to find curiosities… Breath it in. Breath it out. Breath it in. Just enjoy what we have.

That said, when I started on this path, I was thirteen, my presumed-favorite singer Kurt Cobain was still alive, The Road to Wellville was my favorite movie, & I could not wait to get to high-school. When the first season ended, Cobain was dead, I was already souring on Dana Carvey & never had much interest to pursue the cinema career of John Cusack (he already struck me as one-note), & I realized that, while, maybe, it was I, almost exclusively, that accounted for my abject lack of socialization, it certainly wasn’t just that in middle school I sat cheek-to-jowl largely with a population that would be progressing to the inflated self-image academy known as West Allis Nathan Hale High School, the “college-bound” high school. No, I realized that it was Milwaukee, in specific, Wisconsin, in general, with which I was out of step. (& yet, still here I am. But I am working on changing that. Now that my congenital defect is well since repaired.) Instead, I was just fourteen, barely an adolescent, with miles to go before I sleep

With miles to go before I sleep.

***

Postpostscript: all that lacrymosity notwithstanding, this league always has been fun. So, a bit of music to take us out. Something that I knew well, in 1994, & that kind of gets to the point of it.

Stone Temple Pilots, “Vaseline“.

The silly season.

In the first of a two-part series — if, in fact, a series can be but two (I think it might require three, or more; a coupla, at least, if you will) — I will project the 2016 Presidential primary fields. Which are, to date, nonexistent. & will remain such ’til after the Autumnal Congressional biennial.

To begin, the Grand Ol’ Tea Party, as they are the denomination out of executive power, & the more entertaining.

First, two candidates, neither particularly likely to run in the specific, but in outline, as they are of a certain type. Namely, female. & as the presumptively assumed Democratic candidate might be Hillary Rodham Clinton (she’ll always be Rodham, to me; just ask my 8th grade woodburning of a chanticleer), the GOTP should like to burnish its non-sexist rep with a woman or coupla women of their own. (Just as Herman Cain had a platform in 2012, when the Democrats offered their own African-American.)

So, the first two out the gate:

Linda Lingle. I wouldn’t have considered her a possible primary candidate — or, more likely, silliest of silly seasons Republican candidate forum participant, in late 2014 (say, early December, after the midterms have shaken out) — but not so much due her pro-choice leaning as her age. For some reason, I thought the erstwhile Hawai’i Governor was about as old as the septuagenarian Janet Brewer in Arizona. Turns out, Lingle was born in 1953, making her quite my parents’s age. Additionally, she is strong on Israel, won in a Purple — really, Blue, but I’ll use the Moira Liasson/Cokie Roberts/POLITICO spectral projection that holds America was, is, & always shall be a center-right, emphasis on the latter, nation– state, & has made nice with the current occupant of the White House over a long-standing Tea Party bug-bear. The then-Governor’s authentication of the (to that point) fake Birth Certificate will allow the assembled political mediocres (Tapper, Brooks, Blitzer) to tout her willingness to buck the Base, making her post-partisan, something for which our nation, conversely to its center-right heritage, is ready. Her actual record apart from the record of the President’s birth, particularly as regards tax policy & terror, will be redmeat for the Roarquistas who compose the modern Republican Party, though.

Janice Rogers Brown. In the reverse of the Lingle situation, in which a surprising youthfulness — or, at least, not yet attained Social Security retirement age — solidifies the likelihood of at least feinting toward a primary run, with Rogers Brown, the opposite is true. She’s 65 now, & on the DC Circuit — appointed, naturally, by W. Bush — but that means her ascent thru America’s Judiciary is done. Having served as Chief of the California Supremes, & now on the DC feeder for the SCROTUS — erm, SCOTUS — the only possibility for higher achievement in law would be a tenure as Associate on the Roberts Court. Sadly, for her, she’s too old for it. As we can note from the majority of the last two decades-plus of appointments to the Court, Presidents are looking for jurists barely past 50, if not 40 — who can serve upward of thirty years on the bench & thus cement the present (or, in the case of Scalia, the past) as the distant future. This thinking has gotten us Souter, Thomas, Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, & Kagan… & it will only get more pronounced. (In fact, one of the also-rans leading to the Kagan nom was only 36 or 38 when being considered.) So, given Rogers Brown has maxed out her judicial potential, why not look to flip, pulling a reverse Taft? (State) Supreme Court Chief to President(ial contender). As well, Rogers Brown, unlike the aforementioned Lingle, has no question as to her social conservative bona fides, checking all the boxes on gay marriage, abortion, school vouchers, affirmative action, equal pay, etc., & she can easily learn the party line apart those (i.e. taxes, terror, environment).

Oh, & she’s African-American. Even if the pressure is not there to field a black candidate in the primaries due the looming general race against a likely white Democrat, there will be a sentiment of running against the Obama legacy. Would be nice to have at least one black face on the dais to pillory that.

Other female candidates considered, then discarded: Kelly Ayotte (too inexperienced, but more, too McCainiac, too close to Ms Lindsay of South Carolina, who, even if he pulls thru (well, not even; he will pull thru), will be a millstone around Ayotte’s neck); Nikki Haley (too scandalized); Susana Martinez (too shallow).

& now, for the pool of eventual nominee possibilities:

Sam Brownback. I know, I know — the Kansas Governor has shockingly high homestate negatives, but the only way he doesn’t end up running is if he loses re-elect. & he’s not losing. Not in Kansas. &, to be honest, I have had Brownback picked as my 2016 GOP nominee for awhile. Just on the presumption that all of the early discussions — Rand Paul! Ted Cruz! Scott Walker! — are more media wishful thinking coupled to chasing the newest, shiniest thing, & instead the nominee will be someone we have not thought likely at all. To wit: with Rand Paul, you get to rehash the last two cycles of Ron Paul runs, the libertarian put-ons, the Maddow Show disaster; with Cruz, you have a Goldwater (or, more likely, Stockdale) in waiting, a fiery orator who will step in it, eventually; & with Walker, a backwater Governor with too many skeletons in his political life, not unlike the media manipulation of early & mid 90s Clinton (get a coupla hours outside Milwaukee, & Wisconsin’s not too unlike Arkansas (which is why Bret Bielema feels right at home with the Razorbacks (zing!)). With Brownback, though, you have someone with an extensive electoral record, as firebrand in the GOP Contract on with America House, then Clinton inquisitor in the Senate (all the better, this time, if Hillary is the opponent), &, finally, “one fed up with the stink of DC & returning to the State, one of the 50 laboratories of democracy, where the real work is done, where the real people live”. So, the media will like the possibility — good for ratings — & on the issues, Brownback appeals to the social right that has never really gotten its way, not even with Santus Ronaldus, while having the budgeting chops to prove he also wants to drown the bureaucracy in a bathtub.

He is our clubhouse favorite.

But others will run. Like —

Bobby Jindal. Term limited out of the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion, the Rhodes Scholar, Bush era HHS appointee, & savior of Katrina-ravaged Cajun Country, out of office for the two years leading to the primary, Jindal will have the time to speak to every county GOP in the nation, write his campaign book (working title: Bayou Bengal), & maybe even, if he can stomach the idea of living in Iowa, go the full Dodd. (Though, you never go the full Dodd.) Basically, he can build the superior ground operation…

& then, he’ll speak, & it’s Jack Mc Brayer all over again.

Nathan Deal. Another term-limited Southern Governor, & even more than Jindal, a socio-political climber. The one-time Democrat, who turned when the turning was good an absolute necessity — after the ’94 Republican Revolution, which finally swept up Richard Shelby, & took Ben Nighthorse Campbell in its wake — the Georgia pol offers a bigger Electoral College prize than Jindal… & resecures it, were he to get the nomination, as Georgia, given demographics (Latinos, mostly), seems it could be the next Old South domino to return to the Democratic column (after Virginia, &, sort of, North Carolina).

George Pataki. Ex-New York Governor. In office on 9/11. Squishier on the social con front than Lingle. If he runs, he’s running for VP. But don’t put it past him. What else does he have to do?

Scott Walker. Governor of Wisconsin, & only Governor, other than the abovementioned septuagenarian Brewer — who is of a gender, & age, where being without would not be uncommon — not to have a college degree. Has staked his reputation on standing for “the people” (the County Executive recall in the aftermath of the revelation of the inordinately cushy pension deal) & standing up to “socialism” (union organizing, Medicaid expansion, high-speed trains (the last of which puts him opposite the last Wisconsin GOP Gov to countenance a Presidential run (Tommy Thompson, in both ’96 & ’00)). What we got, though, were handouts to favored industries & hands-up to best friends (the veterans outing association fund skimming) & children of donors. Once on the national stage, & without his Republican opponents having to fear a lost recall, all the punches will land. Walker will be exposed as a two-bit hustler whose game played in Palookaville but doesn’t translate to leading the free world.

Though, if he loses in November ’14 to Mary Burke, he won’t run for President. The GOP doesn’t cotton to losers. Which is why another (ex) Governor from the GOP won’t run. Namely —

Other Governors considered, then thrown on the dustpile of fail: Jon Huntsman (2012 primary loser; hews too close to other 2012 loser Romney); Tom Ridge (sounds like he should have pursued a career as offensive line coach for the Steelers); John Kasich (Deadhead); Arnold Schwarzenegger (WHERE’S THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE?!?).

& last, the potential candidates that are running for VP or publicity, if they’re running at all:

Chris Christie. Not to mention Taft, again, but I contend, even with all the fretting over the fattening of America, it will be years, if not decades, before we have another rotund President. That’s not to say Christie won’t run, nor that he won’t have some appeal to the primary electorate. But his physical bearing combined to his origin in America’s most populous Palookaville, & fitting much of the stereotype of same, will doom his top of the ticket chance.

Ted Cruz. For when you want those uncomfortable moments in a town hall, but Dr. Ron Paul is nowhere to be found to violate his Hippocratic Oath & condemn an uninsured 30 years old to die. To wild applause from the gallery. The Senator from Texas may be a noted speaker & Rhodes Scholar, but he’s bound to do something too stupid, even, for the GOP if given a national primary platform.

Rand Paul. His best chance to run is if his preferred Kentucky candidate beats Mc Connell, then wins the general. But that won’t happen. Though the first part might. & if Rand is the reason that the GOP fails to regain the Senate, no way can he lead a national campaign. He’ll be kryptonite.

Rob Portman. Passed over, twice, for the GOP VP selection, the former Japan envoy under W. Bush & budget wonk with the (now-revealed) gay son, will run for President now to prove the latter does not defeat the former with voters. Might work. If anybody but my likely nominee, Brownback, tops the ticket.

So, let’s summarize:

2 women

2 non-whites

1 jurist

4 ex-governors

3 sitting governors

3 senators

Appears to be a fairly standard field. Nearly a dozen overall, drawing largely from the GOTP’s vote clusters in the (rural) Midwest & South, save for two sops to the burnt husk of the Northeastern Rockefeller/H.W. Bush wing of the party, & two women from the western frontier. They’ll look just right on the Vanderbilt University assembly hall stage for the first FOX News Candidate Forum, on or about December 6, 2014.

But, who’s still going  to be standing at the lectern on nomination night at Shank Hall or the Riverfront Coliseum? (Note: I am also calling that, right now. The GOTP National Nominating Convention 2016 will not go to Las Vegas. No matter how much money Steve Wynn & Sheldon Adelson throw down. The Party of the Family doesn’t roll like that.) Well, Brownback, of course… & after his acceptance, he’ll grace the stage with his family & that of his vice-presidential, Mitch Daniels.

You have heard it here, first.

***

Noted, in brief:

Jeb Bush will choose to forgo U.S. Presidential aspirations & accept a sinecure as a university president; say, at Florida Atlantic University. Instead, he will keep fingers crossed that Brownback loses in 2016, & the GOTP, once more, in 2020, paving the way for Texas Representative to Congress P. Bush (elected c. 2018) to run & win in 2024. To be the father of a President, as the Bushes know well, is almost as good. (Jeb is already being fitted for 45.5 ballcaps.)

Marco Rubio will sit it out, being only 40, still, & hoping his own window remains propped in 2020. Building a Senate record beyond “amnesty” will be a boost to those chances, as well.

George Allen will tease a run, this year’s version of Tom Tancredo or Duncan Hunter, then realize nobody likes him. Not even his monkey.

& last, Santorum will mount a challenge, only to back out before the first caucus, realizing there is no secret to his ooze, let alone that the “next man up” tradition in the GOP Prexy selection process no longer applies.

 

 

Home Sweet Home.

Now, as the dust settles on the recent transfer of the Bucks franchise from a Senator to some Hedgers, I shall present my several weeks — if not months — gestating plan for the development (keyword, here) & funding of a facility for the local NBA side. As it stands, I agree that the BMO Harris Bradley should be ushered into the dust settling above. Beyond that, though, I think my opinion diverges, radically, from the view of NBA Commissioner Silver, new team owners Edens & Lasry, & former owner & new arena benefactor Kohl.

To wit: return to the Arena.

Now: hear me.

I think it is plain, in the last two-plus decades of stadia construction for various sporting sides in this country — but not Canada; the Rogers Centre is sui generis — nostalgia has, if not ruled the day, at least seized it for a few moments. We saw it spring from the defunct railyard in Baltimore, extend thru multiple additional developments across MLB, & even creep into the building boom in the NFL & NBA. (Examining the brickwork on field-level at Ford in Detroit, say, or the persistence of the Garden name in Boston, we see that to get a new revenue-stream is not to break with the past, merely coopt it. Gale Sayers is not running between the red brick in the D, as he would have at Wrigley, nor is Havlicek stealing the inbound at TDBank North, but the illusion is palpable.) Now, in the Miltown, we can bring the glossy-eyed fetishism of our sporting roots to zenith, while simultaneously acknowledging the advancing home entertainment future of professional sport.

That is to say, the mammoth television rights deals allowing the NFL to further gild Goodell & the Dodgers to field a line-up of eight outfielders is not a bubble, but a harbinger. In twenty years, our stadia & arenae will resemble Eisenhower-era shots of day match-ups at Yankee Stadium, three or four thousand men in suits, playing hooky, taking in live action. But, unlike that bygone time, there will be thousands times more — if not millions times more — at home enjoying the games on home-theatre-sized screens, some in 3d, & enhancing their experience with supplemental coverage on smartphone, tablet, & Glass. & while many of those multimedia features will be available at the park, as with the Dallas Mavericks home venue, now, the cost will be less to do so at home, when gas usage, parking, ticket, & concessions are subtracted from the bill.

What to do to differentiate the in-stadium experience, then? Make it more intimate. Present live sporting the same as we do, now, for live theatre or symphony. Devote the nearest seating to the luxury class, with the bonus of being seen where it costs a nicely sized coin to be.

& this is how it comes to pass that lowly Milwaukee, a dozen years out from the one-&-done Middling Three almost taking down reigning MVP Iverson, & presumed too small to host an NBA team, new arena or not, comes into it.

One. Gut the former MECCA Arena. & while we are at it, restore the MECCA name to the venue. It can retain its corporate sponsorship — perhaps something on the order of US Cellular Place @MECCA (assuming the @MECCA Twitter domain is not already held by the Saudi Royal Family) — but that minor brilliance will be restored. After gutting the facility, upgrade the restrooms to align with contemporary standards in access for those with disabilities, increases in female patronage of events, & general expectations for public hygiene. Reupholster the retained seating, largely along each sideline & behind the north end basket, while turning the seating behind the south end basket into club level accomodations with individual dining for parties of two, four, & eight, waiter/waitress service, & private bar. (The best tables, therein, will be reserved for local grandees & visiting celebs (say, if an Antetokounmpo & Joel Embiid led Bucks side in 2018 should make the Playoff second round, & Drake shows up, he gets pride of place in the club seating.) Add between twenty and thirty luxury boxes just beyond the lower bowl seating along each sideline. In the club seating, have tablets at each table by which to search for in-game, up-to-the-play advance statistics & analysis; for other seating, have in-area wi-fi available on a complimentary basis, for basic, with higher speed service available at cost (say, 4$ for an hour, or 7$ ’til the end of the game). Make the upper bowl seating “balcony” level, with fifty percent available as partial season ticket packages (10 games) & averaging 35$ per seat, & fifty percent single-game availability (starting at 48-50$ per seat). Reduce total arena capacity to around ten thousand, from current 12,700. (Which should be accounted for by seats lost to ten to fifteen luxury suites along each sideline & in lower bowl).

Also: restore the original Robert Indiana hardwood to the playing surface.

Funding: combination of 100 million from Kohl, a likewise contribution from the new, hedgy ownership group, & the remainder from corporate naming rights & extension of the Miller Park taxing authority for Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, & Waukesha Counties. (Why no Racine? More on that, below.)

Two. While MECCA renovations continue, play out the string at the Bradley. The Bucks 41 games home slate will remain at its home of the past 25 years, as will the Marquette Golden Eagles seventeen or so home dates. Admirals hockey, the sport for which the Bradley was designed, will also stay a BC fixture. & welcomed back to the fold: Milwaukee’s Wave of the indoor soccer circuit.

Three. The Brew City Bruisers will relocate from the Arena to the Al Mc Guire Center on the Marquette campus. This will allow the University to draw some rent from the facility, & draw the roller derby closer to its natural audience of late teen/early twenties population that still has the time & inclination to be aggro.

Likewise, the UW-Milwaukee Men’s Basketball Panthers will move home games back to their own campus gym. But only temporarily. (More on this, as well, a bit further down.)

Four. Once the Arena renewal is completed, the BMO Harris Bradley will be demolished. In its place, the City & County of Milwaukee, in conjunction with some combination of the local business & university community (I am imagining the Cudahy Foundation benefactors of the Pabst/Riverside/Turner trio of live entertainment venues, plus Marquette, Cardinal Stritch, Alverno, Mount Mary, Wisconsin Lutheran College, & MSOE) will establish a soccer stadium & practice compound spanning from Sixth Street to Old World Third (between Juneau & Mc Kinley Avenues), & between Sixth & Fourth in the Bradley’s footprint. In the latter, a several thousands seat facility for collegiate soccer &, hopefully, national junior team (U21, U20, U19, U17, U16) matches will be built, & adjacent that, between Juneau & Mc Kinley, two practice fields will be installed.

Additionally, the main field will be offered to the Chicago Fire entrant in MLS for the odd yearly exhibition — &, knock wood, one or two regular season — matches. (I think it is high time, given the out-state disdain for Milwaukee (as made plain by the Walker Gubernatorial regime & its confederates in the state legi), that the city begin to distance itself from the state & draw closer to the regional driver south of the border & with the backward flowing river. I would almost suggest becoming Bears rooters, as well, but, for now, that is a bridge too far. (Though, would be nice to see the Packers franchise try to survive with just the Fox Valley & surroundings to sustain itself. Given NFL television rights fees & sharing of same, I am sure the team would pull thru, but with a stadium maybe three-quarters full on a typical Sunday, & area blackouts besides. (Cue: Nelson Muntz GIF.))

(As to the current, local soccer complex at the Uihlein on the far-north side: retain it for high-school use, with the local school districts — MPS, Nicolet, Homestead, Brown Deer, Wauwatosa, et. al. — sharing management & upkeep responsibility.)

Five. About the UWM Panthers Men’s side being shunted back to the Klotsche: only temporary. The UWM & Marquette Men’s basketball teams will share a new arena, to be built south of the Italian Community Center. This arena, a more conventional, student-friendly venue (think: a college-barn, as with Cameron Indoor at Duke University), will be built with a one-third contribution from the State of Wisconsin (as UWM is a state university), three-fifths contribution from Marquette (the primary tenant, i.e. the Golden Eagles get pride of place in scheduling, with Panthers basketball & music & other concert & live events subordiate; but, worry not, WWE Raw would still be welcome), & remainder from a local sales tax of one cent per beer & other alcohol sale at Third Ward bars & at Henry Maier Festival Park.) This construction, along with the demolition of 794 from Sixth Street east to the the Lake, would serve to extend the Third Ward’s commercial calendar from largely summertime availability to year-round & integrate it more effectively into Downtown.

Six. Move the Admirals to Racine. Milwaukee is not a minor-league city, nor a hockey town. (At least, not in the city itself.) More importantly, moving the team south, to an as-yet-theoretical arena along the much-discussed-but-hardly-developed Racine lakefront, would give the most depressed city in Wisconsin something upon which to hang its hat (at least five months per year) & its first professional sporting entry since 1924’s last Racine (NFL) Legion team. As well, the City of Racine is much more in line with other AHL cities, nor is it all that much further from team transit out of General Mitchell International. (In fact, might be closer.)

Racine & Kenosha County can fund this arena with a one-tenth-of-one-percent sales tax, as with Miller Park. In fact, the still-in-effect Miller Park sales tax, as it pertains to Racine County commerce, would be redirected to “Marina Arena” (working title of the stadium, though, after corporate sponsorship is worked out, probably SC Johnson Pavilion or Uline Arena), with Kenosha brought into the funding district.

Seven. & this will be my last point of the evening, on this post — though it segues nicely into a discussion of Milwaukee’s surface rail plans (to wit: the the Farwell-to-Downtown trial trolley is small-potatoes) — the previously sketched Combined Soccer Grounds will feature, at its northwesternmost point, a transit center, dubbed Downtown North, which will serve as the terminus of the northerly of three rail lines into & out of downtown. The rail will run along the northside business corridor (though, granted, not much in the way of aboveground commerce is there, now) of Fond du Lac Avenue, from Sixth Street to the former Capital Court/now Midtown Shopping Center. The Downtown North transit center will be a scaled-down Intermodal (the Amtrak-Greyhound joint venture on Saint Paul Avenue), & its opposite number, at North Sixtieth & West Fond du Lac, will feature a two- or three-story parking deck on the northwest corner of the Midtown Shopping Center complex, & enclosed mini-station. The trolley (a three-car set-up, as with the MAX service in Portland), will make additional stops at Sixteenth, Twenty-seventh, Thirty-fifth, Forty-third, Forty-ninth, & Fifty-second Streets. It can also serve as a conduit for workers commuting from Northwest suburbs (Brown Deer, Menomonee Falls, points beyond the Falls along Highway 45) to complete their commute without worrying over parking downtown..

(Granted, as long as the demographics on FDL remain as they are, it is doubtful many business-class commuters would “risk” public transit, but as gasoline becomes more cost-prohibitive, fear will cede its lead to budget. Plus, transit cops, not unlike federal air marshals.)

All told, I believe this grand plan would draw commerce, entertainment, & population ever close to the city center &/or proper, & draw the city further away from the state (as the state seems to want, anyway). As well, it preserves Milwaukee’s other professional athletics entrant — the Brewers having already gotten their salvation in the publicly-funded Miller Park, then sale from the Selig cartel to Attanasio); enhances the university community; & increases communication between neighborhoods (the Third Ward no longer apart from Downtown, as the 794 spur will go bye-bye).

But, will this come to pass? Doubtless, no. It thinks too forward, too municipally. The metro area remains too driven by its blanched suburbs — seen in the continued effort of the Milwaukee-loathers in Waukesha to get access to that sweet, sweet Lake Michigan water that the Lake will never get back (as water used for lawn & garden maintenance cannot be restored from whence it came) — of overbuilt & oversized homes that will soon-enough be ghost-towns as their Babyboomer inhabitants either retire to God’s Waiting Room or not make it that far. One can dare to dream, though, even as one has an eye turned away from the object of one’s plans.

I know I do.

Hard Gs, Keepin’ It Real.

Recently, I became aware of the technocracy’s Civil War regarding the pronunciation of the noun phrase used to describe (generally) short in duration animations common on the blogs. Of course, I mean, the GIF. But is it said as one would describe a present in certain local dialects of English (gift minus t), or does it share its character with that of a popular crushed peanut spread (Jiff)?

As one who has been known for his anal retention, sometimes advancing it so far as to be (un)favorably compared to the Big Lebowski‘s Walter Sobczak, one would think I would approach how to say the phrasal for “short in length internet based animation” in the more aggressively advocated JIF style. Alas, I am not. 

In as much as my experience at the time of the original Sobczakian comparisons pivoted me toward being a stickler, at that time, I also met a group almost as intractable, &, oddly, more unlikeable, than even I: the Oregonians. Natives of the Beaver State are rather committed to the ONLY PROPER vocalization of their state’s name: Oreghin to rhyme with “foreskin”. & any time I found myself in their company — which was often, at age 18, 19, as Oregon was the third most represented state at my collegiate alma mater (Ripon College boasted students mostly from Wisconsin & Illinois, obviously, but next up on the list of common geographic origins was that Left Coast bastion of raptorization; possibly because the college president, of the time, was a Reed College alumnus (if memory serves)) — & I spoke their homeland’s name incorrectly, they would lambaste me & educate, sometimes comically (“it requires a big or’gan to live in the Beaver State”), sometimes pedantically (“the word ends in ‘g-o-n’; of course it’s ‘ghin'”), once more over, how to say the name the only right & natural way. (Never mind that to say “organ” as ‘or-uh-gan’ would, itself, be incorrect, nor that no Oregonian I ever met described the seat of America’s National Defense organization as ‘The Pentaghin‘.) So, I learned, at least in moments, to abjure the rigid enforcement of (perceived) absolutes.

& so, we come, a decade & an half later, to GIF. Is it soft g, or hard? I think another linguistic experience of my late teens points to the answer. Or, at least, to the variability of pronunciation, depending on one’s region of origin & nature of language instruction: friend of mine, at the time — let’s call him “the Ultimate H.” (a shortening of his fake WWF (this was pre-World Wildlife Federation lawsuit) stagename) — was insistent that the computing term ‘gigabyte’ should be said with the soft g, a la such words as the name ‘George’, science object ‘gyroscope’, & alcoholic potable ‘gin’; thus, jigga-byte, as if Jay-Z had branched out from music to software. H. was unwavering in this belief. Then, at once, a friend of this friend — & also, for a brief time, summer ’99, my employer; let’s call him ‘Aphex SS’ (which may or may not have been his vanity license plate, as seen, by me, on a mid-size sedan in our shared adolescent neighborhood upon my return to same in late ’03) — grew exasperated by the clearly misinformed & repetitious opining of H., & said, “In certain cases, [H], you might be right how to say a g followed by an e or i, but it’s not set in stone. Ergo, giggle”. 

& the mic dropped.

I am sure, too, ‘Phex very well might have been jiggling — I mean, giggling — a little.

& I suppose, then, the lesson is — it may, in fact, be that a short-duration computer-animation is a JIF, but that might also be an artifact of a speaker’s origin as much as — in fact, quite more than — actual application of rules of elocution.

(For the record, I say GIF. Because JIFulmination just sounds weird, like something you might find in a more esoteric adult entertainment.)

Dietrich! Your ass… Is mine.

Less than half the age I am today, I rode in the rear passengers’s seat of one of my only friend’s in life’s mid-size American four-door. It was November, maybe December — around the Thanksgiving holiday, at any rate — & we were engaging in that American teenage pastime: lacking direction. Friday evening, done with school for the weekend. Teetotalers, each of us. (With one exception, I would learn a dozen years later. How little I knew, that the one who would be my only friend, the next year, after the others had scattered to various campi of the state university system, was not a man of varying, changing interests, but an easily-distracted drunk.) What to do on a weekend, no libations, no must-see films at the kino. What to do.

We drove. Or, rather, M. drove. It was his car, his parents’s car, that was acquired for his disposal. We had a cd-to-tape-to-tape-deck music set up, Prodigy, I believe; or, any rate, regardless the actual sonic category, we were discussing “Firestarter” as we rode. Not all of us were sold on it. Most, in fact, were hung up on Keith Flint’s punkishly rave trappings, his jittery steps & repetitive waving of his palms against his clownish ‘do. (For my part, not yet having access to MTV in my home — no cable hook-up — I only knew the song from a few spins on the local alt-rock station (which remains, in this age, 2014, the alt-rock station, though re-branded as “independent.alternative.”), & the crashing drum opening. Which, was nice, but wouldn’t endear itself to me ’til six years later, hearing t.A.t.U. repurpose it on “Not Going to Get Us” on cd on my boombox at my flat in Deva.)

So, we drove. Thinking, what to do, what to do. Eventually, of course, we settled on a late evening nosh at Johnny V’s — sometimes, I miss it still, though six years on from my last visit, I remember why I stopped; or, wait, is it seven? (really!?) — but not before tooling around on our fair exurban burg’s underutilized mid-south neighborhood, near the independent grocery & due east of the park where we played pick-up football.

Going south down 76th, we came side-by-side to a sportier American car, possibly also four door, but probably just two, & we waited out the light. (Semaphore, I would say, to be fancy, & also wrong, just retroactive interference, my Spanish &/or Romanian vocabulary, ‘semafora’, creating a false cognate of the English ‘semaphore’. The term, of course, one more common to our driver’s Boy Scouts background.) Our opposite coach revved his engines — or hers, the driver quite possibly having been female, my memory of the event not as perfect as I’d like, more than a decade & an half on — then we, ours. We were going to drag-race. Or, at least, supposing it.

We didn’t drag-race. The other driver still drew a commanding lead, at the light’s change. Sped off, winning. All we were left was to sputter, “Dietrich! Your ass is mine!” Dietrich, of course, or likely, the shorthand, to fit the then-six-characters-limit for Wisconsin auto tags, ‘DTRICH’, being the car’s tag, &, we guessed, the driver’s name.

Dietrich. Your Ass. Ours.

All these years later, I have yet to find Dietrich. To stake my claim. Have yet to see that tag. I have, though, seen the same vanity tags multiple times. Namely, ‘RU18YET’ (at some point, the law regarding character count changed), but also ‘GETUWET’, which maybe I have only seen once, the summer before everything changed, when I worked dayshifts at the ‘Stallis city yard off Beloit, about a mile & an half from where once I glimped Dietrich. Or DTRICH.

Still, I lurk about, hoping to find him. Or her. (Hopefully, her. Not to be overly heteronormative, or gay panicking, but if I am to own an ass, I would rather it be a female’s. & more than that, to be the ass of one particular female, herself a native, then resident of, my same hometown ’til age 14, & the year 2002. Doubtless, her ass, her first name the same as my high-school’s ‘Popsicle Girl’ — though I will provide no further elucidation of her identity — is not also the Dietrichan rear in question, as the ages do not align.)

(I am starting to lose the thread, though. Parentheticals with no association to the time period in question, the end of the first Clinton term, replacing contemporaneous parentheses.)

Now, then, to attain, for one & once & all, Dietrich. DTRICH. Where are you, drag-racing mid-nineties-vintage Westallican? Where?

I must have you. For your ass… It is mine.

Mine.

I mean, ours. I mean, I should share with my then compatriots. Doubtless, too, they have forgotten that night. Forgotten, too, they ever enjoyed the Prodigy. (
The same as, just a few years hence, they would forget they ever enjoyed the irono-contrarian stylings of Reggie & the Full Effect. (But I digress, plot almost lost, again.))

Still, they deserve that ass. That ass is as much theirs as mine. It is ours. Just as the memories are.

Even if the memories are ass, sometimes.