PROOGUE 10/5/17

Here we go again.

In former traditional Cubs lore, this would be an utterance of impending doom. A sighting of a black cat or a hex spewing goat.

But a flash rainstorm on the banks of Lake Erie on a November’s eve washed away all the curses, if indeed they did exist, from Cubs seasons past.

Now, in 2017, “here we go again” means October playoff baseball for the third consecutive year on the Northside of Chicago. The times they are a changin’ for the Addison Street Miracle.

Oh, it was a different ride to playoff-ville this year. Instead of the 2016 express train barreling into the station looking to win games and ask questions later, this year’s team was the local. The 2017 Cubs had a slow start and made several stops along the way before heating up down the stretch.

As seen in the cover photo, some old faces from the 2016 Rally Towel were gone (ten by my count), but the core remained and the result was the same. A National League Central Division title.

Round one opponent are the Washington Nationals. Fondly known to their fans as the “Nats.” I find them akin to the gnats, an annoying little bug. A bothersome roadblock on the path.

GAME ONE 10/6/17

No home field advantage here this year. The series begins in Washington DC.

A classic pitcher’s duel looms. Power versus finesse. Hendrix versus Strasburg.

My notes from the game.

7:55 Game half over. 0-0. Top of 6. Strasburg with a no hitter.
8:00 Feeling a Cubs breakout here. And, it happened.
Two runs. No hitter gone. Shutout gone. Cubs up.
8:40 Defensive changes in the outfield. Hendrix on the hill still. Bottom of 7.
9:00 An insurance run on a double by Rizzo in the 8th inning. The Bryzzo combo coming up big in the late innings with all three RBI.
9:30 Bottom of the 9th Up 3. Old habits die hard. Cautiously optimistic. Sort of loving a silent DC crowd. 1-2-3. Cubs Win 3-0. Home field advantage eliminated.

GAME TWO 10/7/17

A retrospective.

Poof.

If Frank Sinatra was singing a song about this game the lyrics would be, “That’s baseball. You can’t deny it. Riding high in the 7th, shot down in the 8th.”

Cruising comfortably with a two run lead and just five outs to get, Carl’s Jr. delivers a new menu item, the hanging curve burger to Bryce Harper and bang just like that the lead vanishes. Ryan Zimmerman goes yard on normally reliable Mike Montgomery and the gnats get a five spot in the 8th for a 6-3 win.

The bullpen exploded. Series tied. Back to the Windy City for game three on Monday Monday, hoping never to return to that city on the Potomac.

Cubs got two games at Wrigley now. Let’s win two!

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It’s Autumn, or as the leaves call it, Fall.

Slyly, it begins at different times for different folk. Everyday seasons.

For some, the American Holiday Labor Day signals the end of summer, ergo Autumn begins the day after Labor Day.

Purists cling to the Autumnal Equinox as the beginning of Autumn. This year it happened on September 22, 2017.

Others say October marks the beginning of Autumn. As a matter of fact, there’s a whole festival named in honor of the month. Octoberfest celebrates the coming of the autumnal season and is officially held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

Oddly enough however, Octoberfest begins in September there. AND, the Germans even spell it Oktoberfest. It’s like they’ve got a whole different language or something.

A few things I notice more about October now than I did in years past.

Pumpkins. They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere. Not just the big spheroid orange squash family things you carve, but myriad derivatives of pumpkin products presently proliferate.

There’s Pumpkin Spiced Coffee, Pumpkin Ale, Pumpkin Cream Cheese, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Bars, Pumpkin Ice Cream, Pumpkin Oatmeal, Pumpkin Spice, Pumpkin Pie and even Pumpkin in a can.

AND, the pumpkin is indeed seasonally autumnal. Try pawning off a pumpkin brew or a pumpkin pie on the 4th of July. Somehow, our tastes are seasonally conditioned.

Haunted houses. So many many more of them. Not the REAL haunted houses, but the “for profit” ones that proliferate the area now and charge $30 to $50 bucks for the privilege to be scared. Every day, I get Groupon offers. People, I live in Chicago. There are streets I can visit every single day and get scared for free. Taking a pass on the “for profit” haunted houses.

Apples. Who hasn’t gone apple picking if you live in the American Midwest? It’s a tradition. It’s fun reaching and plucking the fruit, filling the bag full with apples. Then, when you arrive home your very first thought is, “What the heck and I going to do with all these apples?”

When you buy pumpkins, your choices are small, medium, or large. Ah, but with apples, there’s: Blondie, Braeburn, Gala, Jonathan, Jonagold, Winesap, Macintosh, Corlands, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Honey Crisp, just to name a few. (Watch out. The honey crisp cost more in Michigan.) Oddly, I have found no apple variety named Bob, but yet we bob for apples.

A fun fact from sixwise dot com. You could eat a different apple every day for more than 19 years,

Many proclaim Autumn to be their favorite season; the colors, the refreshing weather, the apples, the pumpkins, the beer are all reasons why. I happen to be among the many and will celebrate the season accordingly.

FOOTNOTE:
Original inspiration for this post was in 2013. Here’s the post:
https://wedwand.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/autumn-or-do-you-say-fall/

For the past three years or so, I’ve happen to work in an “elevator building.”

As fate would have it, I’ve recently moved my residence to an “elevator building.”

Therefore, based upon sophisticated and scientific observations, the method of which I cannot share here, I feel infinitely qualified to share some of my thoughts on elevator etiquette.

Here we go:

Always stand about 5 feet from the elevator door when waiting for the elevator to arrive. Believe it or not, there may actually be people ON that elevator awaiting to exit. You will impede the exit process if you are any closer.

This may be obvious, but believe me, some idiots do not heed this. Let the people exit the elevator before you try to enter the elevator. It’s a lot easier to get ON the elevator AFTER those who want OFF the elevator exit. It only makes sense.

People REFRAIN from any cell phone usage while ON the elevator. Please. This one is an obvious. There is nothing THAT pressing happening that requires you to check your e-mail and text messages on that 30 second ride. As if, the instant you arrive at your floor, you need to JUMP into action like Wonder Woman ready to save the world when you hit the 3rd floor.

And even worse, don’t make OR answer a call while on the elevator. NOBODY wants to hear your trite and boring conversations AND even IF it’s an emergency, just what are you going to do? You’re inside an elevator! Likely miles away from anyone needing your help.

If you are standing right in front of the door ON a crowded elevator, just exit when the bell rings. Yeah, I know you want to be gallant and let the ladies exit first, but if in fact you are feeling chivalrous, exit first THEN hold the door for them. It’s a confined space. Get off it as soon as you can and help accelerate the process for others anxiously awaiting an exit.

On the off chance it is just you and another person sharing the same lift, I’d suggest using the moment to share a little happy small talk instead of riding in awkward silence. If you don’t know just how to do that, here’s some suggestions:

Whew, hot one out there.
Boy, that traffic was BAD today.
Wow, Wednesday already.
How bout those Cubs?
Can’t wait until tomorrow. Why? Because I get better looking every day.

Never underestimate the power of human interaction. The next time I see these people in the lift, they usually smile at me. Perhaps because they think I’m crazy. Perhaps because they enjoyed the prior exchange. Perhaps because they thought I looked NO different.

So there you have it. Some VERY simple suggestions for “living it up while you’re going down.” Props to aerosmith.

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