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Tuesday, September 30, 2008


"No More 'Win Twins Win'"

Having lived up in Minneapolis for a few years, I have to admire the Minnesota Twins. In the American League, they're probably my favorite team (although, only since the Milwaukee Brewers switched to the National League in 1998). This year, like the Brewers, the Twins had a great season (finishing with only one win less than the Crew). And if it weren't for their heartbreaking tiebreaker loss to the Chicago White Sox today, they too would be in the Playoffs.

So, here's a hat tip to the Twins. Sadly, they go home, and my brother Joel (a hard-core Twins fan) has to watch as his older brother's hometown Brewers continue on into the Playoffs instead. I feel for you Joel, I really do. But hey, now you can help me cheer on the scrappy underdogs of the National League! At least there's one team representing the frigid north, right? :)

Go Brewers!

-Jon

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"Belly Dancing Meets Geek Culture"

Now here's a creative career: Star Wars belly dancing.

Belly dancer Amira Sa'id has both beauty AND brains. And now, she also has a following of sci-fi geeks who are enthralled by her rendition of Princess Leia belly dancing!
When she returned to performing following college and discovered a new affinity for Middle Eastern dance, it soon occurred to her that her various interests met within the gilded beauty of Princess Leia’s slave girl get-up.

"I danced in the outfit for the very first time at a Halloween show at the restaurant I perform at here in Orlando," Amira said. "I then wore the costume to dance at a 2006 sci-fi convention in Connecticut. It was a hit."

As Amira continued performing for ever-growing crowds of Star Wars and Star Trek fans at her beloved cons, YouTube videos of her performances (like this one from Megacon 2007, embedded) began to circulate — building a little nerd buzz for the scantily clad nouveau celebrity. She was in demand.
The Underwire blog has the full article, including clips. Enjoy!

-Jon

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Sunday, September 28, 2008


"The Drought is Over!"

Whoooohoooooo! Wild Card, MILWAUKEE BREWERS!!!!

With a win over the Cubs, and a Mets loss to the Marlins, the Milwaukee 26-year post-season drought is over! Grab the champagne, snap up your tickets... Milwaukee is goin' to the Playoffs!

"Brewers beat Cubs 3-1, clinch playoff spot"

And here's the celebration at Miller Park! ... [video]

-Jon

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Saturday, September 27, 2008


"Playoff Fever 2008: Minus 1"

One game to go, and once again, the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets are tied for the Wild Card. The Cubs beat the Brewers, and the Marlins beat the Mets. In truly dramatic fashion, it all comes down to tomorrow afternoon. Either both teams will remain in a tie, thus forcing a tie-breaker game in New York on Monday, or, one team will go into the Playoffs, and the other will go home. Pretty exciting stuff! ... Here's where things stand at the end of today:

National League Wild Card:

Team Name .... W - L ... GB

Milwaukee Brewers ... 89 - 72 ... ---- ... (1 game left)
New York Mets ......... 89 - 72 ... ---- ... (1 game left)

If the Brewers win tomorrow afternoon, and the Mets lose, the Crew will find themselves in the Playoffs. If that happens, expect to hear much celebration in Milwaukee, because... twenty-six years is a long time to wait! Go Brewers!

"Brewers fall into wild-card tie with loss to Cubs"

-Jon

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"Paul Newman: 1925-2008"

Ten-time Academy Award nominee, Paul Newman, died at his Westport farmhouse yesterday after a long battle with cancer. He was 83 years old -- a classy, yet simple man. He will be missed.

"Paul Newman, Hollywood's anti-hero, dies at 83"

-Jon

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"A Night in the Hospital"

I spent much of the early morning today in the hospital. Not because of my health, but because of my roommate and best friend, Scott. He'd been complaining of severe abdominal pains for the past two days, and, late last night, we decided to go get it checked out. Upon diagnosis, it turns out that he had appendicitis. Later this morning, he had surgery to remove his appendix.

As of this afternoon, he seems to be doing better. He is, as he said, "hopped up on painkillers", but also in his usual good spirits. And that's a good sign. I'm thankful we went to the hospital last night, and thankful too, that his appendix didn't burst. He'll be released sometime tomorrow, and then, after that, he'll have one very interesting story to tell.

-Jon

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Friday, September 26, 2008


"Playoff Fever 2008: Minus 2"

Two games to go, and the Milwaukee Brewers are on top. Yes, they now lead the NL Wild Card race by one game. The Florida Marlins crushed the New York Mets, and the Brewers did likewise to the best team in the NL (aka, the Cubs). Here's where things stand at the end of today:

National League Wild Card:

Team Name .... W - L ... GB

Milwaukee Brewers ... 89 - 71 ... ---- ... (2 games left)
New York Mets ......... 88 - 72 ... 1.0 ... (2 games left)

One more win tomorrow, coupled with yet another Mets loss, and the Brew Crew will be the Playoffs -- for the first time in 26 years! Whoohooo! Go Brewers!

"Weeks homers to help Brewers take wild-card lead"

-Jon

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Thursday, September 25, 2008


"Quote of the Day"

"As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, things will flow as they will, and you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit."
-- Emmanuel Teney

-Jon

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"Playoff Fever 2008: Minus 3"

Baseball just doesn't get any more exciting than this! The New York Mets beat the Chicago Cubs, and the Milwaukee Brewers swept game three against the Pittsburgh Pirates -- their fourth straight win. As a result, the Crew remains tied for first in the Wild Card, with three games to go. Here's where things stand at the end of today:

National League Wild Card:

Team Name .... W - L ... GB

New York Mets ......... 88 - 71 ... ---- ... (3 games left)
Milwaukee Brewers ... 88 - 71 ... ---- ... (3 games left)
Houston Astros ........ 84 - 74 ... 3.5 ... (4 games left)

Wow, and what a game tonight was, too! Yovani Gallardo -- who was expected to be out for the rest of the season with a torn right knee ligament -- came in and pitched seven strikeouts in the first FOUR innings! A masterful performance by any count. Then, in the bottom of the 10th inning, two outs, Ryan Braun came to the plate and one-upped Prince Fielder's walk-off homerun on Tuesday -- he hit a walk-off grand slam homerun to win the game!

Man, this is exciting stuff! The next three games against the Cubs will decided it all. Two teams (Mets and Brewers), just one Wild Card. Go Brewers!

"Braun’s 10th-inning slam lifts Brewers"

-Jon

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008


"Playoff Fever 2008: Minus 4"

The Chicago Cubs beat the New York Mets, and the Milwaukee Brewers won game two against the Pittsburgh Pirates, so... [drum roll] ... the Crew are now tied for 1st in the Wild Card Race! Here's where things stand at the end of today:

National League Wild Card:

Team Name .... W - L ... GB

New York Mets ......... 87 - 71 ... ---- ... (4 games left)
Milwaukee Brewers ... 87 - 71 ... ---- ... (4 games left)
Houston Astros ........ 83 - 74 ... 3.5 ... (5 games left)

Game three against the Pirates will feature 22-year-old Yovani Gallardo -- our original #2 starter -- who hasn't pitched in almost five months. He's been on the disabled list since May 1 after tearing a ligament in his right knee. It was supposed to be a season-ending injury.... but, as it turns out, he's well enough to help the Crew. So, tomorrow could be another exciting game! After that, three games against the Cubs... and then, hopefully, the Playoffs! Go Brewers!

"Sabathia strikes out 11, Brewers win again"

-Jon

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"Bill Dan, The Rock Balancing Man"

Bill Dan is an artist from San Francisco, California, who has an amazing knack for balancing rocks. His "rock garden" creations look altogether impossible, yet as this YouTube video shows, he makes it look so very easy! ... [video]

His blog -- The Rocker -- has a few photos too.

-Jon

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"Miniature War Scenes"

Here's something cool and creative!: It's a LiveJournal site (in Russian) that has an impressive photo collection of intricately-detailed miniature war scenes. The history buff AND the artist in me really like this kind of stuff... so I thought I'd share! Enjoy!

-Jon

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008


"Tuesday in Review"

Got up around 12:30pm. Signed online, did some work. Went with roommate Scott to the DMV (to change the address on our licenses). Stopped in at Half Priced Books, visited Best Buy. Came home. Spent more time on the computer. Wandered into the living room to watch the last three innings of the Brewer's game. Cheered excitedly when they won on Prince Fielder's game-ending homerun! Enjoyed some tasty home-made chili for dinner. Back at the PC again....

-Jon

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"Playoff Fever 2008: Minus 5"

Yesterday, the Cubs beat the Mets, allowing the Milwaukee Brewers to move up a half game in the Wild Card Race. Today, however, the Mets won. And since the Brewers' did the same over the Pirates, they stay one game back in the race. Here's where things stand at the end of today:

National League Wild Card:

Team Name .... W - L ... GB

New York Mets ......... 87 - 70 ... ---- ... (5 games left)
Milwaukee Brewers ... 86 - 71 ... 1.0 ... (5 games left)
Houston Astros ........ 82 - 74 ... 4.5 ... (6 games left)

Only five games remain, and the battle still rages. Can the Brewers make it into the post-season Playoffs for the first time in 26 years? I say yes. What about you? ... Go Brewers!

"Wild-card projections: Mets and Brewers"

"Fielder homers in ninth to lift Brewers"

-Jon

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Monday, September 22, 2008


"Autumnal Equinox"

The Autumnal Equinox will occur today at exactly 10:44am (CST). This officially marks the beginning of Fall here in the Northern Hemisphere, and is one of two times during the year when the sun crosses the equator, and day and night are approximately the same length.

Goodbye Summer... hello pretty leaves!

-Jon

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Sunday, September 21, 2008


"Playoff Fever 2008: Minus 6"

The Milwaukee Brewers crushed the Cincinnati Reds today, and the Wild Card leading New York Mets collapsed rather embarrassingly to the Braves, so... Milwaukee moves up a game in the Playoff Race. Here's where things stand at the end of today:

National League Wild Card:

Team Name .... W - L ... GB

New York Mets ......... 86 - 69 ... ---- ... (7 games left)
Milwaukee Brewers ... 85 - 71 ... 1.5 ... (6 games left)
Houston Astros ........ 82 - 73 ... 4.0 ... (7 games left)
Florida Marlins .......... 81 - 74 ... 5.0 ... (7 games left)
St. Louis Cardinals ... 80 - 75 ... 6.0 ... (7 games left)

The Brewers have off tomorrow, but then they return to Milwaukee to play three games against the last-place Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday. Following that, they'll take on what should prove to be an electrifying series against the Chicago Cubs. And if the Crew make mincemeat of the Pirates... you can bet it'll be standing room only for the Cubs! Whoohooo! Go Brewers!

"Fielder leads Brewers over Reds 8-1"

-Jon

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"Baseball Theme Songs"

I watched the end of the Brewer's game on TV this afternoon (an 8-1 victory by the way!), and during commercial breaks, I flipped over to the Chicago station to see how the Cubs were doing. They won as well, however, in the end, the game itself wasn't what interested me. Apparently, after the Cubs win a home game, they break out into one big sing-a-long in the stands.

And to be honest, the song all 40,000+ fans sang, "Go Cubs Go", was actually quite catchy. Here's an audio version of the song. I also looked up some information about it online, and sure enough, it's "the official Chicago Cubs victory song" -- especially this year.

So, after I turned off the television, I got to wondering... do my Milwaukee Brewers have a theme song? What am I supposed to sing after every home game win?

With a little searching, I found it: "Brewer Fever" -- the "fight song of the Milwaukee Brewers". This one too I found rather catchy, although why it's never returned to the mainstream after the 1982 pennant race, is beyond me. With the Crew making a run at the post-season, I think maybe we need to get it back out there. Afterall, why should the Cubs have all the sing-along fun?

Here's an audio version of the Brewers anthem. Kinda catchy, no?

-Jon

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Saturday, September 20, 2008


"Playoff Fever 2008: Minus 7"

The Chicago Cubs clinched the NL Central today (and have guaranteed themselves a spot in the Playoffs), so the Milwaukee Brewers can only compete for the Wild Card. Unfortunately, they lost this afternoon, and drop yet another half game in the contest. They're still in it, but with only seven games to go, it's not going to be easy. Here's where things stand at the end of today:

National League Wild Card:

Team Name .... W - L ... GB

New York Mets ......... 86 - 68 ... ---- ... (8 games left)
Milwaukee Brewers ... 84 - 71 ... 2.5 ... (7 games left)
Florida Marlins .......... 81 - 73 ... 5.0 ... (8 games left)
Houston Astros ........ 81 - 73 ... 5.0 ... (8 games left)
St. Louis Cardinals ... 80 - 74 ... 6.0 ... (8 games left)

The Brewers play game three of their series against Cincinnati tomorrow, then they return to Milwaukee to wrap up the season on Tuesday. Here's hoping Sunday provides a win. Go Brewers!

"Reds beat Sabathia, fading Brewers 4-3"

-Jon

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Friday, September 19, 2008


"Playoff Fever 2008: Minus 8"

Things are getting tense in the Playoff race. Only nine (9) games remain in the MLB regular season, and the Milwaukee Brewers are stumbling a bit. They lost a mind-numbing 11-2 ballgame against the Reds tonight, and dropped by another half a game in the Wild Card race. Here's where things stand at the end of today:

National League Wild Card:

Team Name .... W - L ... GB

Philadelphia Phillies .. 86 - 68 ... ---- ... (8 games left)
Milwaukee Brewers .... 84 - 70 ... 2.0 ... (8 games left)
Florida Marlins .......... 81 - 72 ... 4.5 ... (9 games left)
Houston Astros ......... 81 - 72 ... 4.5 ... (9 games left)
St. Louis Cardinals .... 80 - 73 ... 5.5 ... (9 games left)

NL Central Division:

Team Name .... W - L ... .pct ... GB

Chicago Cubs ...... 92 - 60 ... .605 ... ---- ... (9 games left)
MILW Brewers ..... 84 - 70 ... .545 ... 9.0 ... (8 games left)

The naysayers are beginning to show pessimism at the Brewers lack of good fortune lately, but I still have hope. The Crew plays game two of a three game series in Cincinnati tomorrow afternoon. They have a day off on Monday, and then close out the season with a home-stand against the last place Pittsburgh Pirates, and the first place Cubs. The race is far from over. Let's just hope their fortune changes, and fast! Go Brewers!

"Reds hit 7 HRs, extend Brewers' fade with 11-2 win"

-Jon

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"Movie Friday: "Last Night"

Another Friday, another movie. This week my selection is titled, "Last Night".

In today's live-action short, we're introduced to Max -- the groom. Tomorrow is his wedding day, but tonight... he's still single. Taking a break from his bachelor friends, Max heads downstairs. As he catches his breath in the hotel bar, a mysterious woman in red steals it away.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend all!

-Jon

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"Floor Massage"

Have you ever sat in one of those massaging arm chairs -- the kind that rumble softly, and vibrate rapidly? The kind that give you an almost full-body massage as you relax in body-numbing bliss? Now... have you ever felt your entire house do that?

As luck would have it, my apartment building is experiencing just such an event right now. Light fixtures are vibrating on the walls, a low hum fills the air, and I can feel the normally stable floor massaging my feet. It's an unusual experience to say the least.

Outside, and just behind my four-unit apartment building, there's a city lot that used to have an old house on it. Not too long ago, they tore that house down, and they seem to be replacing it with a small parking lot (for the commercial building next door). I went outside to track down the strange vibrations, and sure enough, there's a big steamroller flattening the lot. The energy it gives out... is vibrating the entire area.

-Jon

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Thursday, September 18, 2008


"Playoff Fever 2008: Minus 9"

The excitement continues. Only ten (10) games remain in the MLB regular season, and still the battle rages on. My Milwaukee Brewers lost a nail-biter to the Cubs today that went into the 12th inning. And while they drop a game in the Wild Card race, they're by no means out of the contest just yet. Here's where things stand at the end of today:

National League Wild Card:

Team Name .... W - L ... GB

New York Mets ......... 85 - 67 ... ---- ... (10 games left)
Milwaukee Brewers ... 84 - 69 ... 1.5 ... (9 games left)
Florida Marlins ......... 80 - 72 ... 5.0 ... (10 games left)
Houston Astros ........ 80 - 72 ... 5.0 ... (10 games left)
St. Louis Cardinals ... 79 - 73 ... 6.0 ... (10 games left)
AZ Diamondbacks .... 76 - 76 ... 9.0 ... (10 games left)

NL Central Division:

Team Name .... W - L ... .pct ... GB

Chicago Cubs ...... 92 - 59 ... .609 ... ---- ... (10 games left)
MILW Brewers ..... 84 - 69 ... .549 ... 9.0 ... (9 games left)

Starting tomorrow, the Brewers open a three-game visit in Cincinnati. The Reds should be an easy team to beat, but, at this point, one never can tell. Here's hoping they take the series, so when they return home on Tuesday, they're still in the thick of things. This could very well be the most exciting finish to the season I can remember in years! Go Brewers!

"Lee’s 12th-inning single gives Chicago Cubs win"

-Jon

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"A New Bridge Opens"

Over a year ago -- on Wednesday, August 1, 2007 -- a key bridge in Minneapolis collapsed over the Mississippi River. Thirteen people were killed, and 145 injured. If my father hadn't stopped to grab a quick hamburger at a fast-food drive-thru (on his way home from a meeting), he could very well have been one of those victims.

Here's what he had to say about the experience:
"A little over a year ago, shortly after 6 PM on August 1, 2007, I was on Interstate-35W in Minneapolis, my car climbing the backside of the Mississippi River bluff that led to the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi.

Suddenly, traffic ahead of me stopped. A dust cloud rose from the river side of the bluff. Traffic stood motionless for several minutes. Finally, a man appeared over the top of the bluff....

"Turn around!" he yelled. "Go back! The bridge is gone!"

That was the first I knew of the tragic I-35W bridge collapse. Thirteen people who were a half-mile ahead of me died in that collapse. Dozens more were injured."
It's been a year now, and a new bridge has been built in it's place. Today, it opened -- well ahead of schedule. I'm grateful that my father dad delayed his drive home that day, but also saddened at the loss of those who did not. Accidents happen, it's a sad fact of life. Hopefully, however, with the lessons learned, this new bridge can help prevent something like this from happening again.

"New I-35W bridge spans river, technological divide"

-Jon

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"T-Shirt Thursday: Jon Baas Art"

In an effort to show off some of my popular (or new) t-shirts, artwork, and gift ideas exclusive to my online store, Jon Baas Designs, I've decided to feature a few of them here on my blog every Thursday. I call it, "T-Shirt Thursday". Feel free to comment, and enjoy!

Today's Featured Designs:
(click on each image to see available products)

Girl in the ShadowsEagle PrintsHomeland Heroes

More T-shirts & Gifts: .... Jon Baas Art Prints .... Digital Landscape Art

And for those of you who like to shop, weekly sales and coupons are available on the front page of my store. Feel free to use them for special discounts!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008


"Playoff Fever 2008: Minus 10"

With only eleven (11) games left in the regular season, Major League baseball is packed full of excitement. It's down to the wire, and everyone wants a shot at the playoffs.

Naturally, my attention remains focused on the National League, where my hometown team, the Milwaukee Brewers, are in a close race for the Wild Card, and fighting desperately to advance into the playoffs. This is where things stand at the end of the day:

National League Wild Card:

Team Name .... W - L ... GB

New York Mets ......... 84 - 67 ... ---- ... (11 games left)
Milwaukee Brewers ... 84 - 68 ... 0.5 ... (10 games left)
Houston Astros ........ 80 - 71 ... 4.0 ... (11 games left)
Florida Marlins ......... 79 - 72 ... 5.0 ... (11 games left)
St. Louis Cardinals ... 78 - 73 ... 6.0 ... (11 games left)
AZ Diamondbacks .... 75 - 76 ... 9.0 ... (11 games left)

NL Central Division:

Team Name .... W - L ... .pct ... GB

Chicago Cubs ...... 91 - 59 ... .607 ... ---- ... (11 games left)
MILW Brewers ..... 84 - 68 ... .553 ... 8.0 ... (11 games left)

Last year, Milwaukee lost out on the Wild Card early, but finished only two games behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central division. Historically, it's been 26 years since the Brewers went to the postseason... this would be a fitting year to change things. Go Brewers!

"Sheets injured, but Brewers beat Cubs"

-Jon

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008


"Lizard on a Wind Turbine"

"Come one, come All! See the amazing lizard. He runs, he spins, he makes electricity?"

I saw this, got a kick out of it, so I thought I'd share. The title says it best: it's a video of a lizard who seems to enjoy running 'round and 'round on a wind turbine. But what makes it even more entertaining is the soundtrack -- The Sabre Dance. Yes indeed, lots of fun. Enjoy! ... [video]

-Jon

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"Guess The Accent"

Oooh, now this was fun... and also educational: Watch 16 people talk, and then try to guess where they're from: Can You Guess Where My Accent is From? ... [videos]

My score was 27. It's not as easy as you might think!

-Jon

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"Unnecessary Knowledge"

Here's something educational -- and fun: Take a moment, visit this link, and keep refreshing the page for another bit of Unnecessary Knowledge. Mmmm! Fascinating stuff!

-Jon

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Monday, September 15, 2008


"Playing With The Moon"

Here's a fun little photo gallery: Playing With The Moon.

-Jon

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"Robin Yount Returns to The Brewers!"

Earlier today, in an unprecedented move, and in hopes of pulling out of late-season slump, the Milwaukee Brewers fired manager Ned Yost. Third-base coach Dale Sveum (a former Brewers player) will take over as interim manager, and carry the team to the end of the season.

His first order of business: hire Hall of Famer Robin Yount as the new bench coach.

In 1973, 18-year-old Yount was a first-round draft pick with the Brewers. He debuted the following year, and played the rest of his career with the team, retiring at the end of the 1993 season. In 1999 he was voted straight into the Hall of Fame.

From 2002-2004, Yount served as a coach on the Arizona Diamondbacks, before stepping down when the team's manager was dismissed. In 2005, Ned Yost hired him to rejoin the Brewers as the bench coach. However, in November 2006, Yount stepped down once again in order to spend more time with his family. Now, two years later, he's back!

So, what's so exciting about his return?

Well, Robin Yount is to the Milwaukee Brewers, what Brett Favre was to the Green Bay Packers -- a living legend. During his career, he was a 3x All-Star, a 2x MVP, and a Gold Glove winner. He played two positions (SS/OF), and led the Brewers to their only World Series appearance in 1982. I grew up watching Yount play. He was my childhood hero; I even have his autograph. And in 1992, when he gained his 3,000th hit, I was one of the fans in attendance at the game.

Yes, my admiration of Robin Yount ran deep. But, it would soon go even deeper.

A year later, in 1993 (just after my family moved to Minneapolis), I submitted an essay to a sportswriting contest hosted by the Minnesota Twins. The theme was "The Glory of Baseball", and I decided to write about my Robin Yount 3,000 hit experience. I turned it in, and waiting to hear the results. In August, it was finally announced: 13-year-old me was a grand prize winner! My little essay had won me VIP skybox tickets to a late-season Twins game!

To me, even now, Robin Yount remains an integral part of the baseball fan I've become. I followed his every success as a player, and I admire him as a coach. To hear that he is once again back with the Brewers -- the team I grew up with, the team he played all 19 years of his career with -- that's pretty darn cool!

Only 12 games remain in the 2008 Brewers season. The teams is struggling at the moment, but still in the race for a Playoff spot. And now, with the shake-up, a former Brewer at the helm, and Hall of Fame class act backing him up... things have gotten even more interesting here in the Brew City. Playoff fever is high; Can the Brewers past catch up with the present, and win this team it's first post-season appearance in 26 years?

We shall see. I, for one, will be shifting back into boyish excitement, and riding the wave all the way to the end! Yep, this is the year we do it. Go Brewers! (Go Robin!)

"Brewers fire manager Yost in midst of playoff race"

-Jon

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Sunday, September 14, 2008


"Quote of the Day"

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."
-- Proverbs 3:5-6

-Jon

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Saturday, September 13, 2008


"Historic Presidential Election TV Ads"

Here's something for the historians out there: It's a site called The Living Room Candidate that documents political ads for every presidential election dating back to 1952. There are more than 300 commercials, all of which are available for viewing.

-Jon

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Friday, September 12, 2008


"Back From Iraq!"

I just heard the news... My younger brother Ben will be returning from his second tour of duty in Iraq next week. He'll be stateside again (aka, his Marine base near San Diego, CA) on Thursday, September 18th. Whoohoo!! ... It'll be good to have you back, bro!

-Jon

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"Movie Friday: "Oktapodi"

Another Friday, another movie. This week my selection is titled, "Oktapodi".

Today's short animated film is about love -- and an unlikely adventure. When his mate is viciously removed from the fish tank (and destined for the butcher's block), what's a frantic octopus to do? Well... bravely chase after her, of course! What results, is a cute little story that will make you smile and, quite honestly, leave you wanting more!

Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend everyone!

-Jon

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"All By Myself"

For the next week, my roommate and best friend, Scott, will be spending time at his family's cottage up north. He decided a vacation from the stress of work and life was in order, so his destination of choice was the rustic lakeside retreat. Seven days of peace and quiet -- no television, no phone, no internet -- man, that sounds nice! He invited me to join him, but alas, much to his disappointment, I had to decline. I've got work to do, and no matter how I cut it, a week off right now just wouldn't be prudent.

So... here I am, all alone, working and hanging out in the big city, while he's vacationing in a quiet "North Woods" setting. Big bummer if I do say so myself. But, there is the possibility he'll be going back up again next month (to take the dock out of the lake for winter). So, if everything works out, maybe I can join him then. For now, though... [sigh] ... work comes first.

-Jon

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Thursday, September 11, 2008


"T-Shirt Thursday: USA Election T-Shirts"

In an effort to show off some of my popular (or new) t-shirts, artwork, and gift ideas exclusive to my online store, Jon Baas Designs, I've decided to feature a few of them here on my blog every Thursday. I call it, "T-Shirt Thursday". Feel free to comment, and enjoy!

Today's Featured Designs:
(click on each image to see available products)

Obama Biden T-ShirtsMcCain Palin T-ShirtsJohn McCain T-Shirts

More T-shirts & Gifts: .... USA Election T-Shirts .... Military T-Shirts

And for those of you who like to shop, weekly sales and coupons are available on the front page of my store. Feel free to use them for special discounts!

Have a wonderful Friday everyone!

Your happily blogging friend,
-Jon

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008


"Inside The Mind's Eye"

One thing I find so fascinating about how my mind works, is that when I dream, those dreams usually tend to be complete stories -- Hollywood-like movie stories, with a beginning, middle, and an end. And, not only that, I usually end up dreaming every night, and I can still remember bits and pieces when I awake.

Most of the time these dream-stories are science fiction in nature (which perhaps reflects my waking interest in the same), but they've also been romance (sorry guys, I dream clean!), and sometimes even mild suspense-thrillers too. Rarely ever do I have nightmares.

This morning, when I awoke, I had that same kind of feeling you have after watching a thought-provoking movie in the theatre. I usually don't try to find a meaning in my dreams, I just enjoy them for the stories that they are. This morning's story, however, was fascinating enough that I though I'd share it with you. Here's a recap.

I dreamed that I was among a number of humans taken from present-day Earth, by a benevolent race of aliens interested in learning more about our species (yeah, I know, cliche... keep reading). We were taken to some far-off world, and incorporated into their society as indentured servants, beloved household "pets" (the closest analogy I could come up with), and in some cases, placed in observable communities. We were treated with fascination and respect (even when a few of us rebelled), we were given rights akin to their own, and peacefully assimilated into their society.

We were also granted immortality, and never once -- contrary to popular alien mythology -- experimented on. We were just observed as the individuals we were, allowed to move freely about their society, included in their expansive culture, and encouraged to explore their unique environment. And, to be honest, life was good.

After about a hundred years, their fascination with us had worn off, and we were given the opportunity to return to Earth. Since we had not aged, we were essentially returning in the same condition we had left, only the world had advanced far beyond anything we were familiar with. In essence, we had become aliens on our own planet.

Now that I was home again, the rest of the dream dealt with me (no longer immortal) exploring the world I had once known before I was taken away. All of those places, however, were new, and different -- yet, as is the case with our own history -- somewhat similar. Imagine being taken from earth in 1900, living on an advanced alien world, and then returning to earth in 2008. That's basically how this dream played out. It was real (I could see, smell, feel, etc)... and there was far more to the story than I could ever write here.

I'm sure there've been Hollywood movies, books, and who knows what else, that deal with this sort of concept, yet I can't seem to think of any at the moment. It was just... an entertaining, and extraordinarily thought-provoking dream.

You know, I've often wondered: how much of my frequent dreaming comes from me, and how much comes from random external sources? My imagination was always encouraged as a child, and now that I've grown up, it permeates just about everything I do. Right now I'm an artist creating whatever my mind can dream up, and I'm an actor using my own perspective to make someone else's fictional character come to life. My very job is to tap into the boundless imagination I developed as a child. Is my imagination really that deep, that it permeates my dreams too?

I tell you, the human mind fascinates me to no end. Computers can do amazing things these days, but there will never be anything as complex or creative as the human mind. My imagination -- waking or asleep -- is one of a kind. And that, to me, is pretty darn cool!

-Jon

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008


"Neglected Sensibles Shelter"

Save your Sensible. No, seriously, it's not a bad idea! And if you're feeling rather insensitive, you can even slap, throw, poke or spin your Sensible. After a good abusing, though, I do recommend feeding it. Afterall, one must always be sensible, right? Enjoy!

-Jon

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Monday, September 08, 2008


"The Well of Chand Baori"

What if M.C. Escher had been asked to design a real life building? What would it look like? Well... it would probably look something like the Chand Baori stepwell near Jaipur, India. The amazing 13-story structure was built in the 9th century, and has 3,500 narrow steps. The cool thing is, it really does look like one of Escher's drawings!

-Jon

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"42 Years Ago, Today"

On September 8th, 1966, the world "boldly went where no one had gone before", as it was transported to the 23rd century and the final frontier. On television screens all across America, the first episode of Star Trek was aired. It would usher in a franchise that still endures to this day. Happy Birthday, Enterprise! May you, live long... and continue to prosper.

-Jon

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"No More Shoveling?"

I got a call from my landlord this morning. He had an idea he wanted to run by me...

In past winters, it's been my job to shovel snow off the sidewalks. Now that I've moved, however, that obviously has to change. If my landlord goes with his idea, that "change" might actually become more of an "upgrade": I'd get to put down the shovel, and pick up the snowblower!

It's an exciting prospect -- at least for me. Wisconsin tends to get a lot of snow in winter. During this past season alone, we got 100 inches, and that's a pretty big job when you're only armed with a shovel, elbow grease, and facing hundreds of feet of buried sidewalk.

I know it may sound strange, but I actually enjoy shoveling. I wouldn't want to make a career out of it, but I do like the hard labor every once in a while. It's a welcome break from my office work.

Here at my new place, someone else is on tap to take care the snow removal, which is fine. She's been doing it for years, and I have no interest in stealing her thunder. Under this new arrangement, I'd still be removing snow at my old apartment (only with a nifty new machine that spits the snow off the sidewalks for me!), taking on a second apartment structure nearby, and helping my neighbor right here -- as needed -- in clearing out any late-day or large obnoxious snowfalls. My landlord would provide transportation (for me and the equipment), and I'd still get to "play" in the snow!

Sounds like fun. Less physical labor than the shoveling, sure, but still a new and challenging gig. And, as I've come to realize lately, I really do need more new challenges in my life. Same-old, same-old is nice -- for a while -- but shaking things up... that has it's advantages too!

-Jon

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Sunday, September 07, 2008


"The Tiddy Bear"

I'm not a fan of infomercials, as they tend to lack creative thought, and are nothing more than a boring sales pitch. However, every once in a while, I do come across one that stands out from the rest -- like this one. Sure, the Tiddy Bear is a bit tongue-in-cheek, (and yes, it's a real product), but it's also amusing, cute, and might just make you laugh! ... [video]

-Jon

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Thursday, September 04, 2008


"Sarah Palin"

I prefer to keep this blog outside the realm of politics, and leave the debate over such to other more qualified bloggers, however, I do have have to say.... After having watched the two big speeches of the Republican National Convention, I'm going to have to keep an eye on Vice-Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin. I reeeeally like her. She's a great speaker, sharp as nails, easy on the eyes, and about as family-oriented and down-to-earth as you can get.

Yeah, this is going to be a very interesting election.

-Jon

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"Keith Anderson, Close to Home"

Earlier this afternoon, I received the monthly alumni newsletter from my old college here in Milwaukee (Wisconsin Lutheran College), and was surprised to see some unusually big news listed there. Grammy-nominated Country Music Star, Keith Anderson, will be performing on-campus, live November 2. His current hit single is #4 on the Country Billboard Chart.

Now, this may not seem all that significant to most of you, but consider this, my old college only has a total enrollment of about 750 students. It's tiny -- at least when compared to the local big name universities. The last time anyone one of major national note spoke or performed on my campus, was when Former Vice-President Dan Quayle did so in the early 90's. The only other big-name speakers since then have been: Former Wisconsin Governor and 2008 Presidential candidate Tommy Thompson, former U.N. Ambassador Alan Keyes, and national talk-show host, Michael Medved. This Keith Anderson concert is a pretty big deal!

And the really cool thing is, I'm a fan of his music too. Good stuff. Good voice, good lyrics. Maybe I'll have to see about attending. Anyone else interested?

-Jon

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"Picky Postman"

We've got a picky postman here at our new apartment. For the first few days, neither Scott nor I were getting any mail... and we couldn't figure out why. Our mail address was already set to be forwarded, so that wasn't the problem, and rarely ever do we not have something or other sent our way. Finally the carrier left a note on our box and explained his reasoning: He was refusing to deliver our mail... because we didn't have our names on the box. "No name, no delivery."

Uh, ok, kinda picky, but easily remedied. Scott and I did as requested, and our mail started arriving the next day. Problem fixed, right? Nope.

See, at our new place, there are four apartments -- two on the first floor, two on the second, with a central hallway and stairwell between each unit. The outside door opens into one end of that common hallway, and all four of the mailboxes are just outside the door -- on a wall panel configuration. At our old apartment, the eight mailboxes were all individual and private.

At our new place, the mailboxes are like little lockers set into the wall, with each apartment having a key that opens their appropriate locker. When the mail is delivered, the postal carrier has another key that tilts the whole contraption out from the wall. He then drops the mail into the appropriate locker from above, closes the whole thing up again, and goes on his merry way.

As it turns out, though, when our postman tilts the boxes down, he doesn't bother to check for outgoing mail. Instead, he just shoves the new mail into each slot, and leaves. That left outgoing mail from the previous day still in our mailbox when I checked 24 hours later. Quite frustrating.

With this present situation, there's just no effective place to put outgoing mail. Either it gets wedged into a crack at the top of the lockers (and thus subject to blowing away, and/or easy swiping), or you walk down the street and put it in the postal drop. I personally don't mind the postal drop, but Scott is less patient with the inconvenience.

This is also the third time my landlord has had to change the style of mailbox, just to suit our postman. Quite simply, the long-time carrier refused to deliver mail until his preferences were met. Apparently, this is how he operates.

Yesterday, Scott finally got fed up, and called the post office with a strongly-worded complaint. They called back today, and suggested installing a common outgoing-only box for all four of us tenants to use. It's a great idea, and one that I'll pitch to our landlord. Unfortunately, however, the reaction of our long-time picky postman is yet to be determined.

I tell you, some people.... they just like to have all the power.

-Jon

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008


"A Summer Without 90"

So far this year, the temperature in Milwaukee has not yet reached 90 degrees. Yes, here in West Allis (west of downtown}, we were in the mid-90's today, but that doesn't matter much, because the official record is set at the airport -- closer to the Lake. And the airport only reached 89.

For purposes of record-keeping, the National Weather Service considers Summer to be the months of June, July, and August. Since the high temperature at the airport only hit as high as 88 on July 15, 16, 30, and August 5th, summer has officially passed without a 90-degree day.

The last time the temperature didn’t hit 90 degrees in a Milwaukee summer was back in 2000. Before that, 1915. The odds of it still reaching 90 this year.... rather slim.

-Jon

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"Klingon Victory Song on the Guitar and Harmonica"

Here’s something you don’t hear every day: the Klingon victory song "YIjah, Qey' 'oH", as performed by a Human on the guitar and harmonica. ... [video]

And here's a video clip of the song being harmonized by actual Klingons in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, "Birthright Part 2". Warrior songs, and blood wine... classic!

-Jon

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"Don LaFontaine 1940-2008"

Don LaFontaine, the man who popularized the catch phrase "In a world where...", and lent his voice to thousands of movie trailers, died yesterday. He was 68.

"Don LaFontaine, voice of movie trailers, dies"

-Jon

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"Presidential Anagrams"

This past weekend, Presidential candidate John McCain picked his 2008 VP -- Sarah Palin (from Alaska). That means, both major tickets have now been determined.

Back on August 23, I played around with the names on the "Obama/Biden" ticket to see what kind of anagrams I could come up with. For those that missed it, here are my favorites:
  • Media Nabob
  • Babied Moan
  • Babe Domain
  • A Bad Omen I B
  • Bad Men: A Bio
  • Be Bad Aim, No?
  • Bad Men I Boa
Today I thought I'd do the same thing with the "McCain/Palin" ticket. Here are a few of my favorite anagrams from the Republican side:
  • Calm In Panic
  • A.M. Nap Clinic
  • I Limp Can-can
But what if we analyze their first and last names? Let's start with the best results from the democratic ticket -- "Barack Obama Joe Biden":
  • Pajama Beach Book-Binders
  • Babes Impeach A Banjo Dork
  • Bad Jerks Impeach A Baboon
  • I Bombed A Cabana Joker
And if we played around with "John McCain Sarah Palin" we would get these:
  • A Chaplain Crams John In
  • A Clannish Jar Champion
  • John: A Mascara Linchpin
And finally, since we're being silly with political anagrams for the upcoming election, here are a few other good ones that just don't fit into the above categories:
  • "Governor Palin" = Poor Navel Ring
  • "Sarah Palin" = A Sharp Nail
  • "Palin" = I Plan
  • "Senator McCain" = Narcotics, Amen.
  • "Joe Biden" = I Need Job
  • "Barack Hussein Obama" = Bush, I can break Osama.
  • "Barack Hussein Obama" = Ban Bush, Soak America.
  • "Barack Hussein Obama" = O, man, I scare Babushka!
  • "President Barack Hussein Obama" = A Democrat speaks inane rubbish.
  • "Obama/Biden/McCain/Palin" = A damn abominable picnic.
Ah, yes... wordplay, always a fun little distraction! :)

-Jon

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"Quote of the Day"

"Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out."
-- John Wooden, Hall of Fame basketball coach

-Jon

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Jon Baas

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