Sunday, September 30, 2012

When the Saints Go Marching In (to Milwaukee!)

Gosh I pack a lot into my Milwaukee weekends. This one was no exception: a nice dinner, a good pub, beautiful weather, Oktoberfest, game night with friends, golf and a Packers victory! It's a classic case of I-gotta-go-back-to-work-on-Monday-so-I-can-get-some-rest.

But of all the above, last night's Oktoberfest was a true and memorable highlight.

We went there to celebrate the last weekend of singledom for our friends Kiki and Dave. They're getting married this Friday at the same place my wife and I tied the knot: Hubbard Park Lodge! We are really looking forward to their wedding. They're a great couple. While at Oktoberfest, we also ran into a wonderful old friend whom we had not seen for too long. It was like old times. Lots of laughter about old times and catching up on what's new.

What really made the night memorable, however, was a busload of New Orleans Saints fans who had come up to Wisconsin with the ultimate goal of attending the Packers vs. Saints game taking place at Lambeau the next day. Their original plan was to go to 5 games in 4 days: White Sox, Blackhawks, Brewers, Packers (er, Saints), and Cubs (Blackhawks are out due to the NHL lockout). Upon arriving Milwaukee and checking into their hotel rooms, they had a few hours to kill before the Brewers game so their guide took them to the Bavarian Inn's annual Oktoberfest.

Man, this group had the time of their lives!

Adorned in hard hats with plastic rats rat eating a piece of yellow sponge (cheese?), they tore up Oktoberfest with reckless abandon. They were having so much fun, they forewent the Brewers game altogether. Said one fellow, "We are having so much fun! Why would we want to leave?"

And I was particularly proud of the Wisconsin Gem├╝tlichkeit offered by the attendees and the German band: The Freistadt Alte Kameraden Band from Germantown, Wisconsin. The leader of the band acknowledged the New Orleans revelers and welcomed them to Milwaukee and Wisconsin. He then launched the band into some Dixieland Jazz followed by a rousing version of When the Saints Go Marching In. It was great. It was hard not to be smiling from ear to ear watching these guys and girls celebrate. One fellow, pictured to my right, said, "I'm thinking of selling my house and moving to Milwaukee!"

Another cool part was the band did an honorary song for veterans and current members of our armed forces. Despite all the dancing, singing, and partying, I stood with the Saints fans, I took off my woolen hat and they their sponge eating plastic rat-mounted hard hats, and we stood respectfully at attention while the band paid respects to our soldiers.

Very Classy. There are still good people in the world and that's nice to know.

Enjoy the video below. It wasn't the same as being there, but I'll think you'll feel the spirit.

Oh, and the answer to the question "Who dat der gonna beat them Saints?" Well, at least 4 teams this season, including the GREEN BAY PACKERS! ;)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dunk You Very Much

Saturday, September 8th was a highlight-filled day. I spent the entire day in the village center of my town -- Wauwatosa, WI.

We have a great Farmers' Market every Saturday for about 5 months. Besides fresh fruit and vegetables, the market has a musical performance. Today, my newly formed band -- The Rogue 6 -- was the entertainment. I had a complete blast playing with my friends in this group. Typically we're six people -- hence the "6" in our band name -- but today we were only four. No matter. We have plenty of songs or "tunes" to choose from. We played for about 3 hours before going back into our set and choosing to replay a few songs. It was also great to see so many friends and family members come out to enjoy the day with us.

After our performance, we hung out at Wauwatosa's annual Tosa Fest. What a great time we had. Music, beer, food -- what a great way to celebrate the end of summer!

However, despite the fun I had playing and listening to music at the festival, it wasn't the day's highlight. No, the day's highlight was this: dunking local Wauwatosa Alderman Bobby Pantuso on the very first pitch thrown.

Yep. They announced Alderman Bobby would be entering the dunk tank. Tickets were six balls for $5. I instantly jumped in line to buy some balls. As luck would have it, I was the first to throw too.

A dry Bobby positioned himself atop the dunk tank drop board and I lined up my first pitch. I set my sights, reared back and let pitch number one go. BAM! I missed the target left ... but only a little. It hit the bar supporting the target and down went the Alderman!

One pitch, one dunk. Perfect. I'm so happy.

After that throw, a fellow came up and told me that I needed to move back. Pitches 2 through 5 were close, but I wasn't able to dunk the Alderman again. Pitch 6, however, glanced off the button, but it wasn't a direct hit enough to trigger the drop board.

No matter. After pitch number one, I could just have walked away.

That one was that sweet.

What a fun day!