Hegarty's was my headquarters on Friday and Saturday, from 2 a.m. onward. (editor's note: I drank a shampoo-load during my 13 months in MKE. A SHAMPOO-load.)
It was literally next door to my apartment building. Door to door, assuming the elevator was running slow, was 30 seconds.
It had good food. Not great food, but good. That included a good burger. Not a great burger, but a good one. The beer was cold. Not the coldest, but cold. And cheap. Not the cheapest, but cheap.
You get the point. As bars went, Hegarty's was a solid B+. And in life, some things are perfectly fine with a B+ average. Bars are one of them. (Intermediate Macroeconomics is also one. But I'm living proof that you can still graduate with a D.)
I made friends with the bartenders and they were great guys. Some were unemployed law school grads - Hegarty's was a Marquette Law School hangout - and they all tried talking me out of taking the LSAT and heading to law school. They succeeded, temporarily.
The clientele did include some undergrads, but as they're generally taboo in my line of work, I never bothered with them. I had more important things to tend to.
Hegarty's never messed with anyone. Unless you messed with it. Or the Milwaukee Police Department.
My final night in the MKE, I was enjoying a farewell beverage at Hegarty's - last stop, as would be apropos - and there was a raucous group of kids in the back. All underage, all loud, but we paid it no mind.
The bartender was also paying no attention - to their ID's, their behavior, or to anything for that matter...I believe he was smitten with a bar patron.
A few of Milwaukee's finest walked into the bar, presumably to see who was illegally consuming Milwaukee's Best.
The officer glanced at the bar and we older folks nodded back. Then they headed to the back of the bar and you could head the party come to an abrupt halt, like a train collision.
The boys in blue started rounding up the young'ins, but not until one young lady decided to make a run for it, rounding the turn and heading for the door.
Mere steps from freedom, the particularly portly girl hit the doorway seconds after two officers burst through to grab her and - essentially - hog-tie her. She tried - in vain - to wrestle away, but there was no escaping. Her summons for underage drinking - a misdemeanor in MKE County - just became resisting arrest.
Without pause, the guy sitting next to me got out of his seat and walked to the jukebox. It was one of those internet jukebox things, where you could pay a buck extra and "request" a song.
Priceless. Even the police officers couldn't keep a straight face.
And that was the beauty of Jim Hegarty's. It didn't take itself too seriously. It was what it was - and that was a great bar.
Fare thee well.
A sore elbow for LeBron? Wow, shocking? He's played 90+ games over the last seven months and was one of the NBA's leading scorers. Of course his elbow is sore.
ESPN's "breaking news" had LeBron had ice and treatment on it?
Here's guessing that LeBron - and everyone else in the NBA - is being treated for something.
It's not news.
Perhaps a TLBR opinion piece for a later date, but new NCAA President Mark Emmert wants to revisit the "one-and-done rule."
And this week's Sports Illustrated talked about several scenarios in which college conferences could expand (and contract).
And my general overall opinion for both topics is: good.
Some kids don't belong in college. Don't waste their time or ours.
And some schools are better off with their peers. Let the BCS football schools do their thing. They already do. Remove the boundaries and let them do what they do, and let the non-BCS schools with basketball as their flagship do what we do.
While coaches in basketball and hockey are all about the haberdashery, football and baseball managers dress much less like an accountant.
NFL rules stipulate that coaches wear official NFL gear. It's genius marketing and advertising. Belichick does it in his own way, as he's known to do.
Baseball managers are viewed as on-field personnel. And within the rules of baseball - rule 1.11 (a) to be exact - "All members of the team must wear a similar uniform."
I'm all about this comeback.
By my count, Tiger is 119-over par.
The Thursday Thing
First off, sad to read that one of the most talented and influential MC's
of my generation - Guru - passed away this week. Born Keith Elam, the Boston native embraced the NYC scene and gave Brooklyn another groundbreaking hip-hop artist.
Whether it was Gang Starr (w/ DJ Premier), solo, or his first-of-a-kind Jazzmatazz series, Guru always brought it.
He died at age 43, due to complications from a stroke and cancer.
Darnell McDonald? Yay! Kevin Youkilis? Yay!
(sarcasm alert; do not be alarmed)
Back to back game-winning hits by two guys who know Pawtucket well is giving Sox fans a pretty hefty bucket of fool's gold.
Not this fool.
This is a rebuilding year. No more, no less. A playoff run would be nothing short of a baseball miracle. Don't give me the pitching and defense crap, don't try to sell me on "run prevention."
In fact, don't try to sell me anything - which seems to be the only consistently successful thing the Sox ownership has done since they arrived in town.
Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre, and Marco Scutaro are nothing more than seat-fillers. And if the Sox had managed to re-sign Jason Bay, sign Mark Teixeira, acquire Adrian Gonzalez, or find a shortstop that doesn't suck, then the Sox would not be in this position.
But it's hard to charge the most for tickets, parking, hot dogs, sushi, clam chowder, etc. without providing a product on the field that doesn't make you feel like you've been beaten and mugged.
And that's how "run prevention" was born. Well, call me a birther on this one. I'd like to see that birth certificate. World Series trophies from 2004 and 2007 sit in glass cases because of power, pop, and pitching. Sure, there were a few nifty gloves in there, but the keen combo of OBP, OPS, key basehits, and tape-measure shots made this team World Champions.
Run prevention is what you do when you're a middling NL Central team. Run prevention is a piss-poor excuse. Run prevention is an ugly, last-minute prom date. It's what you turn to when you miss out on all the pretty girls.
And to compound the problem, the Sox don't even have a "good personality."
Memo to David Ortiz: you're not the leader in strikeouts. I'd give that title to Oregon, with their search for a new men's basketball coach.
In no particular order, here is who they're talked to (or tried to) and who has rebuffed $3 million per season:
Missouri's Mike Anderson, Gonzaga's Mark Few, Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon, Butler's Brad Stevens, Florida's Billy Donovan, Texas A&M's Mark Turgeon, Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Minnesota's Tubby Smith.
Yes, there's a bit of a problem with who, exactly, is driving the ship. No AD (yet), old AD running the search, along with an alum and former track athlete who owns a local sporting goods conglomerate.
But it's $3 million per. That's 3, comma, three zeroes, comma, three more zeroes, decimal point, two more zeroes. Break that up, take the 33% out for taxes, and divide it by 26 and that's $77,300.00 per paycheck.
TLBR's choice: John Beilein.
He's won wherever he's gone, and has never stayed at a place more than five years.
THe Pac-10 struggled this season because the powers like UCLA and Arizona were down due to draft defection. There is "buzz" at Oregon State, some great coaching at Cal, and some great recruiting going on at Arizona. All three of those programs shine in the sun on the West Coast.
So go and hire a great coach who has a *gasp* gimmick. 1-3-1 and 4-out; 1-in would win games out there. Beilein's won with under-the-radar guys who fit his system.
Manny Harris was as talented a player as Michigan's had in years. But JB couldn't deal with him and the team suffered.
If I'm whomever is captaining the search in Eugene, I reach out to him.
Just read the obituary for Dr. James Masterson. The headline called him a "Narcissism expert." And reading through, he named an institute...after himself.
You can't say "assholes" on television.
This is TERRIBLY sad (sorry about the third obit of the blog post; I swear we're not feeling morbid or nihilist here at TLBR headquarters).
It's a bit of an investment of time, but quite a read/ Good to see how "new media" is making the same impact as the traditional means and good to see folks of influence are altering their ways to embrace it.
And speaking of the opposite end of that spectrum, here's a sad story about how a newspaper is surgically removing journalism from its stories.
But a million's just a million of one thing...
So the Tea Party rolled into Boston yesterday (and the Capital of the Biggest Little today), complete with the rootinest, tootinest shootinest less-than-one-term and less-than-one-brain cell former Alaskan guvnah as the keynote speaker. Thankfully Ms. Palin didn't grace us with her presence.
In full disclosure, I don't have much against the Tea Party folks. Like everyone else, I'm in favor of paying less taxes and still getting awesome government stuff in return. In fact, if I could pay zero taxes and have less government, and throw in eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, and six geese a laying, that'd be pretty swell (you betcha.)
But in reality, what is all this accomplishing? Can you truly protest in the U.S. in the information age and make a difference anymore?
The world watched the protests (and subsequent beatings and killings) during the elections in Iran not too long ago. But how long did that last on the news cycle? It was top story until Lindsay Lohan tripped on the top stair after she consumed most of the top shelf...and then no more.
Hell, look at me. I write a blog (allegedly) that, while appreciated nationally (kinda), doesn't exactly change the world (no chance).
But the Tea Party folks...does your waving Salada tea bags by their string change anything? Did the Dow jump? Interest rates on CD's rise? Foreclosures end? Bureaucracy come to a grinding halt?
No? Then you just wasted a few hours of your life that you'll never get back. Unless you're union, then you probably could claim comp hours and have it count toward your pension. In which case, you shouldn't shampooing complain.
New York Yankees booing Javier Vasquez because he's 0-2? So what. Call me when it's August.
Since my previous sabbatical from TLBR in June, 2009, I've managed to stumble upon some music that has been absolutely terrific. I mean, so good that you'd consider screaming "crowded theatre!" in a fire.
Broken Bells - Gnarls Barkley's DJ Danger Mouse + James Mercer of the Shins. Pretty damned good. The song you prolly hear on the radio: "The High Road." The song that makes the CD spin round n' round: "Sailing to Nowhere."
Deer Tick - Providence's own. But NBC newsie and music blogger Brian Williams has claimed them, so the national acclaim is building. You can purchase Born on Flag Day on iTunes and "Easy" is a tune you may have heard on the radio. But "Smith Hill" is pull-your-car-over-and-listen good.
Sade - Yeah, she's been making proper baby making music for quite some time. And "Soldier of Love" doesn't disappoint. Pick a song and go with it. No preference.
Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3. Yeah, I've heard "Empire State of Mind" and "Run this Town" roughly 11,000 times in arena settings over the last six months. But g-d, this is a Hall of Fame hip-hop album.
Boston's best burrito is back!
And if you can get over that nacho cheesy line, then just go to El Pelon - reborn at 2197 Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton.
Or visit elpelon.com.
Finally, if you've ever sent a text message that you immediately regret...or if you drank 700 beers and THEN sent a text message that you thought was a good idea and then woke up to the morning reply and then tried to piece back the reason why your 9th grade girlfriend called you an a-hole (again, but for the first time in like 16 years)...then check out this website.
The last notable post with prose on TLBR: June 3, 2009.
Lots of memorable stuff has happened since then. Let’s recap:
It got hot; I moved to Pawtucket with Sara; the leaves fell off the trees; it got cold; Tiger crashed an SUV; it snowed; The Hangover came out on DVD; it thawed out; it rained a ton; it flooded; lots of basketball coaches got fired; I started blogging again.
(and WTF - there's another "Sex and the City" movie? In Abu Dhabi? Miranda joins the shampooing Taliban? Carrie wear a burka? Can't hurt. She still looks like a foot.)
There were several events in between that I may have left out, but at least I closed strong (unlike Cinco Ocho, which was another event that missed the list).
As I’ve mentioned before, when the words were both plentiful and scarce, TLBR was born from boredom. And it has suffered due to being busy.
And beyond busy, let's be honest, I lost it. Like Chuck Knoblauch trying to throw to first, I couldn't find my way. I lost my muse.
Here I was - your muse - and I was muse-less. Not even Scarlett Johansson - TLBR's former resident muse - could save me. Not even Zooey Deschanel - the second runner-up muse - could muster a pilot light for the TLBR inferno.
All the things that fueled the first full go-around - angst, uncertainly, a wee bit of unfiltered sarcasm - it's still there. I found them again.
But thankfully, they don't drive the ship. Just the blog.
Onto some topics.
1. The coaching carousel and the 96-team field
What in tarnation is going on in the college basketball world? Two Ivy League coaches get fired mid-season. DePaul was open for about seven months. Nobody wants UNC-Wilmington. And don't even get me started on the New Jersey corridor of the Big East Conference.
Head coaches are getting fired for being unsuccessful and not. Head coaches are taking assistant coach gigs. Hell, Oregon's offering $3 million a year and no one's biting.
TLBR's theory on this madness? The 96-team tournament is on the horizon.
What does that mean? Don't ask the guy who is supposed to be able to explain it, because he couldn't. Don't ask the folks at the NIT, which will go away should there be an additional 31 teams added to the Dance. Don't ask AD's with contracts for coaches based on a 65-team tournament.
Some coaches advocate for a 96-team tourney because it will help "save jobs." Doug Gottlieb argues - and I agree with him - that it will cause more upheaval because if you can't make a 96-team tourney...you should be canned.
My feeling? It's almost as archaic as basketballs with laces. The tournament as currently formatted allows for Princeton to almost beat Georgetown in 1989. It allows for Coppin State in 1997. It allows for Gonzaga to shed the pejorative mid-major term. It allows for George Mason to have the sun, the moon, the stars - and an underachieving UConn team - align for a Final Four run. And it allows for Butler to come one or two inches off the side of the rim from becoming the biggest story in Tournament history.
A 96-team tourney? Get used to the notion of chalk. It won't benefit the non-BCS schools - awwww, isn't that a cute way of saying mid-major these days? - it'll help the money schools and the money conferences, because that's what this whole thing is about.
It's not why I got into it. Cue up the David Barrett piano solo during the first two-and-a-half minutes of the original "One Shining Moment," but it's the best playoff system in all of sports.
Leave it to the folks who can't get a football championship right to make its men's basketball championship all wrong.
2. The Red Sox
Shampoo 'em. Ask me in May. Don't care right now. I've got a blog to restart.
And with that, we'll end today's missive.