The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Return (TN Trip Journal Part 2)

Everything was set for our return - with regret, of course - to Wisconsin. We got everything packed in the car, and set off back North. We decided to visit a Waffle House off of the Highway 109 exit of I-40 in Lebanon for breakfast. We got out of the car, I stretched a bit, and saw the Tennesseean newspaper box next to the entrance.

My next two words were not printable in a family magazine. Sarah kept asking what was wrong, then saw the headline. I had already pulled out two quarters to grab a copy, which she refused to allow me to keep in the back seat. She told me to put it in the trunk and I could look at it when I got home.

Unless you have been hanging out under a rock (which, by the way, I had come close to doing without 'net access this week), the Nashville Predators have been sold by Craig Leipold to the maker of the Blackberry phone,
Jim Balsillie. Balsillie has made no bones about his desire to put a team in the Southern Ontario area, and the Predators have long been a target for cities who have long believed that Nashville doesn't deserve a hockey team.

The only thing that I could think of on most of the drive back home was, boy, Nashville, you've really done it now. On the verge of losing not one but two of your pro franchises, and who knows how long the third could end up staying? I've always said that the Titans were always a pissed-off Bud Adams away from becoming the LA Titans. Of course, conspiracy theorists may be thinking that it's Adams that's behind all this to begin with, but that's just grassy-knoll stuff.

I tried not to think about the sale for the rest of the trip, and I had plenty of other things to occupy my mind. Like, say, the entire state of Illinois. It was bad enough on the way down, but this time we were driving during daylight - and the roads were packed. Illinois state troopers were out in force on I-57, with radar guns and motorcycle units pairing up to nail speeders.

We did have a nice dinner at the Ruby Tuesday's on the East side of Bloomington, though it seemed a bit long to get over there on Veteran's Parkway. With all the severe weather that was slated to come through, we didn't get much of it as we finally pulled into Wisconsin.

My only fear is, of course, that I won't have a reason to come down to Nashville the next time I do so. I had commented to my wife's aunt that 10-12 years ago, the two of them were the only ones that we knew down there. Now, I knew several other people in the Middle Tennessee area, and spent more time with them. Not that I want it to go back to the way it used to be, but it would be sad if I didn't have that common thread with the others (no intentional pun there).

Tennessee Trip Journal - Part One

The trip down was basically uneventful, though it was (as always) long. We took the "Western Leg" that routed us through Illinois down through Bloomington/Normal and Champaign/Urbana. Gas prices trended downwards as we headed South, to where they were only $3.049 at a few stations in Tennessee. We even saw a station that still had gas at $2.999.

I ended up being awake for 22 hours in a row, and I slept for a grand total of eight hours afterwards, and it felt great. We went out and did some stuff in Nashville – after touching base with some of my friends here in the city. For the first time ever since I started coming to Nashville, I actually went to the Country Music Hall of Fame. It was a nice place, but about halfway through my head started to hurt. I think it was probably a combination of factors – coming in and out of air conditioning, still being over-tired from the trip, having on a different pair of glasses, and on top of that I hadn't eaten in a long while. We ended up getting turned around in West End by the Vanderbilt campus, and I got really angry with Sarah because I was just feeling so horrible and needed something to eat. We had lunch at the Subway on 21st Avenue South across from Vandy, and worked our way back East.

We worked our way over to my friend Lisa's workplace on the east side of Nashville. Her animation studio, Magnetic Dreams, is expanding a bit, so they had a lot of empty space that was in the process of being remodeled. We set up plans to meet at Sam's in Hillsboro Village, which was (ironically) right where we had been over lunchtime.

Sam's was your basic sports bar, if a bit more geared towards the college fan (since it is located blocks from the Vanderbilt campus). It was great to meet some of the people that I only knew as names on the boards. The only issue was that both Sarah and I were still wiped out from the previous day, so we didn't end up staying to watch the Ducks take the Western Conference title from Detroit.

Wednesday was a bit of a "catch-up" day for us. We went downtown to look around at the Hard Rock Cafe for a bit, but didn't find any t-shirts or stuff that suited our fancy. Apparently, they no longer make the Hard Rock Cafe-brand boxer shorts, something my sister Annie had specifically requested.

We had our second visit to a Cracker Barrel that evening with another good friend, Patty. She and Sarah really hit it off, and by the time we were back at the room, it was time to get our stuff ready so we could leave in the morning.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


We're off to Music City USA... sort of.

Actually, we're going to be staying in Lebanon, Tennessee, next week on vacation. I'll be blogging a bit about it, and my thoughts about the city.

I had intended to see about getting in for a tour of Woodland Hills Youth Development Center (the equivalent of EAS in Tennessee), but wasn't able to call them to set up anything.

I'm looking forward to seeing the city and the friends and family we have down there.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Metaphysics of Web Comics

I have to give the nod over to Scott Kurtz, creator of the cartoon PvP. He had some issues with his website the last few days, and in the time it was being fixed, he pondered the existence of his characters.

It is strange how a bunch of "made up" characters, whether in book form, drawn or on TV or in movies, can have such an effect on us that they're more real to us than people that really existed. His post (and the comments of many of his readers) is an interesting commentary on the power of media - any media - on the psyche of people.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Something to Consider

First of all, let me state the obvious: the Milwaukee Brewers are off to their best start ever in franchise history. This is only the fifth time since 1970 that the Brewers have won 20 games by this point of the season, and it is far and away their best record over the first 34 games of the season.

There is something scary about this, though: in each of the four other times the Crew has posted 20 wins through 34 games, they have slumped over the remainder of the schedule every time, save for once (1979). The worst slump was when they first reached the 20-win mark in 34 games, in 1975. The team won only 48 more games all season, finishing at 68-94. A similar slump would put the Brewers at 87-75 in October... possibly in contention for the wild card, but not for certain.

The Brewers haven't generally done well after the 34-game mark, dropping in their winning percentage by an average of .009. Since joining the NL in 1998, the average drop has been .017. Even with this, though, the Brewers are projected to have a final record of 112 to 113 wins.

Ponder that for a moment...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Numbers for a Tuesday

A few numbers to ponder for an idle Tuesday:

Monday, May 07, 2007

Roadgeek Alert: WIS 119 Is Official

I had been meaning to get a photo of this out there as proof:

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This was taken yesterday afternoon, May 6, headed North on I-94 West.

WIS 119, the fabled Airport Spur, is now an officially "numbered" highway, according to WIDOT signage.