Travel notes.

All I can say is: If you find yourself with time to kill in Milwaukee any day Monday through Saturday, do yourself a favor and take the brewery tour. It only takes about an hour and they give you free beer at the end. Also, there’s a hilariously over-the-top preliminary video that gives the phrase “it’s Miller time” the same historical significance as “give me liberty or give me death” or “54-40 or fight.”

A sign hangs in the warehouse area of the brewery. It reads: You don’t distribute a product. You deliver beer. You break down barriers and cement relationships. You make brothers out of friends, friends out of brothers and peace between fathers and sons. You are their brass ring and their consolation prize, their olive branch. What you do matters. What you do makes a difference in people’s lives. Every day, you give people everywhere a gift. You give them milestones and stories they will remember forever value. You give them Miller Time.

I thought: Well, that’s one way of describing what happens when people get drunk (or “use irresponsibly,” as we like to say). And I thought the First Amendment was a lofty motivation to get up and go to work in the morning. What do I know?

At the question-and-answer period, I asked, “Was Frederick Miller Jewish? Evidence would suggest so.” Was told: No, the six-pointed star stands for the six fundamentals of beermaking: barley, water, yeast, malt, hops and…I forget. Beechwood aging, maybe. How proud the Jews must be.

Also, I recommend the Milwaukee Art Museum, even if you don’t see a single painting. We ate lunch there with John and Sam. I asked the waitress, “The docent said they only flap the wings ‘weather permitting.’ What sort of weather stops the show?”

“I dunno,” she said. “I work down here on the lower level.” Alan remarked later: “She works in a one-of-a-kind building and she doesn’t even have the curiosity to know the first thing about its most obvious feature.” Curiosity may have killed the cat, but lack thereof is killing the country. If you ask me.

And speaking of killing the country…

Yes, I’m still bitter. So is Michael Kinsley. But he’s much funnier than I am:

So, yes, okay, fine. I’m a terrible person — barely a person at all, really, and certainly not a real American — because I voted for the losing candidate on Tuesday. If you insist — and you do — I will rethink my fundamental beliefs from scratch because they are shared by only 47 percent of the electorate.

And please let me, or any other liberal, know if there is anything else we can do to abase ourselves. Abandon our core values? Pander to yours? Not a problem. Happy to do it. Anything, anything at all, to stop this shower of helpful advice.

There’s just one little request I have. If it’s not too much trouble, of course. Call me profoundly misguided if you want. Call me immoral if you must. But could you please stop calling me arrogant and elitist?

I mean, look at it this way. (If you don’t mind, that is.) It’s true that people on my side of the divide want to live in a society where women are free to choose abortion and where gay relationships have full civil equality with straight ones. And you want to live in a society where the opposite is true. These are some of those conflicting values everyone is talking about. But at least my values — as deplorable as I’m sure they are — don’t involve any direct imposition on you. We don’t want to force you to have an abortion or to marry someone of the same gender, whereas you do want to close out those possibilities for us. Which is more arrogant?

All right, I’ll stop this now. Deb’s 50th birthday party was a blast. She looks nowhere near 50, does she? More on this later. For now…The Wire.

Posted at 8:44 pm in Uncategorized |

9 responses to “Travel notes.”

  1. brian said on November 7, 2004 at 10:37 pm

    “For now, The Wire”

    I have seen many references to this “The Wire” hereabouts. This was a free HBO/Showtime weekend, so I have now seen my first The Wire.

    It struck me as very like Hill Street Blues, only with large amounts of jarringly graphic violence (I believe we got to see 7 or 8 people get “chalked” in the one episode), and with the word “fuck” (and all variations thereof) liberally salted in. I liked the show, although it would be a question whether the characters would pull me in quicker than the violence would push me away, if I could watch it regularly. Or maybe the episode I caught had a heavier helping of firefights than normal – it being “free weekend” and all… and btw – what does the name “The Wire” refer to?

    The movie “The Shape of Things” was the other goodie I caught this weekend. It is a Neil LaBute(sic?) film, and almost the polar opposite of his “In the Company of Men”…very funny movie!

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  2. brian said on November 7, 2004 at 11:00 pm

    Regarding Nance’s continuing bout of Bush-Blues. this article about the post election stress that some Kerry supporters are experiencing is worth a chuckle –

    an excerpt –

    “The good news, mental health experts say, is that most Kerry supporters will get over their disappointment on their own. In fact, maybe sooner than they think.

    �Right now you�ve got them at the depths of their despair,� said Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist who has studied voters� emotional reaction to elections. �They�re not going to feel worse in a week. They�re going to feel better.�

    In fact, Gilbert said, his work has shown that voters get over their election-day disappointments faster than they predict they will.

    �They don�t think they�ll be over it in a month, but they will be,� he said.

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  3. Nance said on November 8, 2004 at 4:03 am

    You can’t just turn on “The Wire” and get it. It’s a dense, multilayered, deep-background narrative that’s been unfolding in its major threads since Season 1, Episode 1, and now we’re halfway through season 3. This is the show’s greatest weakness, and although HBO helps with a rather exhaustive website, it’s just something that is what it is. (I’m glad they’re committed anyway.) This is a particularly violent season — there’s a drug war going on — and as for the language, well, that’s police work.

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  4. John said on November 8, 2004 at 7:32 am

    Deb is one hot number!!! Happy Birthday!!


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  5. Pam said on November 8, 2004 at 10:34 am

    A couple of things: They lifted the booze ban in Westerville and now we’ll have a nice restaurant (The Old Bag of Nails) where we can have a little glass of wine. Hurray! So not all the “perfect” people got their way. But here’s a quote from the “stay dry” side: ” I worry that somebody will drive away from the Old Bag of Nails drunk, something that doesn’t happen with the patrons of Graeter’s ice cream parlor.” She’s obviously never tasted a scoop of Tangerine Dream!

    On the subject of licking our wounds over the Bush thing, I am tired of being called unpatriotic, lacking core values, etc. Very un-sportsmanlike conduct. Could they be laying the groundwork for second term craziness?? I think so. My biggest issue with this administration is their belief that no one has to pay the bills. They remind me of those people who hit the wall with their credit cards and either declare bankruptcy or go to credit counseling to be put on a “program”. I also have a number of other “biggest issues” but not now.

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  6. Dorothy said on November 8, 2004 at 12:36 pm

    Brian – “The Wire” refers to a wire tap, which the Baltimore police have used in their crime fighting attempts against the druglords (Stringer Bell, Avon Barksdale, et al). Currently they don’t have one in use but are attempting to find a way to use it again.

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  7. brian stouder said on November 8, 2004 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks Dorothy! I kinda thought it referred to surveillance; but wondered if it referred to some neighborhood’s name, or some other Baltimore colloquialism.

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  8. 4dbirds said on November 8, 2004 at 2:49 pm

    Ah Baltimore. I was there yesterday at the Raven’s game when the young lovely behind me stands up and screams to all “My F*&king wedding dress is riding on this F*&King game!!”.

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  9. ashley said on November 10, 2004 at 12:35 am

    Go figure.

    I read today that a new name has surfaced for the role of James Bond: Dominic West. That’s right…McNulty as James Bond.

    My two favorite Wire quotes from this week’s episode:

    “Conscience do cost.”

    “Bushmills? That’s Protestant whiskey!”

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