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Friday, October 28, 2022

Recently I promised to write more because in one month I had just four entries.

And here I am at the end of October with nary a handful of posts.

I'm working on overcoming my typical self-flagellation -- geez, that sounds like something gross. 

But October has been a busy time and at my advanced age I'm starting to understand I can only do so much. 

Just this last week I had three 13-hour days. When young, that would be as nothing. (I'm. stealing that line from S.J. Perelman, one of my writing heroes, who once wrote about Karl Jung spending a year in his 80s to play on the beach. Perelman's response was that would be as nothing for his fictional self.)

So this Friday, when I have failed to post enough, I am butt tired.

And happy, Work is good, personal life is full, kid is succeeding. I've enjoyed a couple martinis as I await fish fry -- a.k.a. Wisconsin sushi.

I will do better reporting in November, I promise.

In the meantime, I'm going to Halloween as a smalltown weekly editor. 

I'll send photos.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace unto smalltown weekly editors. (Please note it's "weekly" and not "weakly" although that can be debated.)

Friday, October 21, 2022

 As much as I hate it, birthdays bring about rumination.

It's a cliche.

But when you turn 57 -- the same age of your father when he died -- rumination comes with the birthday drinks.

I started thinking about it all Sunday night, the same day the Packers lost, and my thoughts led me to self-flagellation -- a thought system at which I excel. I went to bed considering myself a failure, a bad father, poor editor, crappy friend. Plus the Packers sucked.

I had formed a plan to improve in all areas, an impossible plan I realized the next morning when sleep cleared my mind from most of my funk. Most of it. I can still do better in many areas, including write more, cooking for myself more.

And I can take better care of myself so that I can live longer for Kid. I have dibs on her first Emmy or Oscar nomination because I called it. Sorry, ex-wife.

Tuesday morning, I checked my Buddhism Quotes app, which told me, "If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it's not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever."

From the Dalai Lama.

And this: "Eighty percent of the people in the world are fools and the rest of us are in danger of contamination."

From "Hello, Dolly."

For years I thought those were the same person.

The birthday was nice, although I didn't announce it. Some people knew and were so sweet to me. One of the few positives of Facebook is getting beautiful message from all my travels. Sometimes I worry, given my profession and my age, that I might have lost sincerity and empathy. Facebook birthdays quell that feeling.

Rumination has turned to reflection in these few days and I will be better for it.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace unto yourselves my brothers and sisters.

Friday, October 7, 2022

 Gannett paid me this week.

I wrote a while ago about a notification from my former company that it had determined it owed me $1,900.

And I mentioned the program for paying former employees what's owed them would begin starting Nov. 1 but that it would take eight to 10 weeks for me to receive the check. So I noted on this blog the largest newspaper company in the country would pay me promptly -- in 2023.

Well, I received the check this week.

Natural narcissism tells me that I made a public stink so I was paid.

Normal life isn't like that, though. The mechanisms of the world let alone Gannett don't recognize me the individual.

What matters is I was paid and the $1,900 the company owed me is in my account, earning interest, and not in Gannett's account earning said interest.

Now it's in my checking account plus I bought a $38 bottle of 2018 Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon. I shall enjoy it with a steak grilled on my deck. That's a steal for a top-notch Napa Valley cabernet.

Simple pleasures.

And a nice way to finalize the relationship with Gannett.

Peace unto Ukraine and a decent wine unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

One of the many things I looked forward to on my return to Wisconsin was watching a Packer game in a bar where all the patrons were on my side.


Somewhere along the line of 30 years, with few exceptions, of winning seasons Packers fans became insane.

I now regularly sit beside fellow Packer fans who live and die by each play.

The team general manager and coach should be fired. The four-time MVP should be let go. Burn all of Lambeau down and restart the oldest NFL team because three consecutive 13-win seasons aren't enough.

It's no longer like the 1980s Wisconsin bars where fans were just happy to be there. The Packers didn't win but they existed. And we continued on the fumes of the Lombardi era 20 years earlier. The team had a good year when they broke even and there remained conjecture the team might fold or, God forbid, be sold and moved to a city that was larger and more lucrative. 

Like Appleton.

I moved away from Wisconsin in 2000 and spent the better part of two decades to return home.

Now the fans I sit next to want to fire every Packer employee if a pass is dropped, the other team makes a first down or Aaron Rodgers changes his haircut.

Really, dude. He's the Jennifer Aniston of the NFL.

The dudes and dudettes on the bar stools next to me are often ready to climb to the top of the bar and throw themselves off.

Full disclosure: I was there once. I clearly remember a game the Packers lost in in the playoffs against Atlanta some years ago, while I was living on a bucolic Pennsylvania and my head was about to explode. I considered I might have a stroke and no one would find me for weeks -- and I still would have looked fat.

It's just a game, I told myself, gorged on Leinenkugel's and Wisconsin brats I had exported to Pennsylvania. Had I died, the level of decomposition would be overcome by the smell of Silver Springs Beer and Brat mustard as it would waft through the scene.

It's just a game.

And thus a celebration where I enjoy the drama of highs and lows of the most gloried teams in the National Football League.

Even if I have to take aways the means of self harm from the cat sitting next to me, guns, knives, rope or an application to the Brian Urlacher fan club.

Peace unto Ukraine. Peace and more peace unto my fellow Packers fans.

Oh, and go Pack.