Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bertram: Hawk, Beer-Stealer, Friend

According to the North American Falconers Association, Falconry is the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor. My reaction: Cool.

I knew a falconer growing up, and it was amazing to watch him and his hawk, Bertram, hunt. Old Man Krazinski (I think that was actually his given name) was a hermit that was somewhat of a local legend around Eagle River, WI, where I spent a couple weeks every summer at my Aunt and Uncle Hillside’s cabin. He avoided interaction with everyone in a scowling, maybe-I'll-burn-your-lake-house-down-when-you're-gone-over-the-winter kind of way. But, for whatever reason he liked me, so he would let me watch him and Bertram hunt. Now Old Man Krazinski and Bertram didn’t hunt small game like most falconers. Nah, that was far too pedestrian for OMK. He had trained his hawk to swoop down over fisherman and steal beers out of their boats. Pretty awesome because 1) OMK rarely had to buy beer and 2) it’s hilarious to see drunk fisherman bail out of their boat when this is dropping down on them.

Having watched the Packers’ defense in the two preseason games, and looking at these stats: 6 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries, I think I have noticed something about Dom Capers. He has a lot more in common with Old Man Krazinski than I ever could have imagined. He is nothing less than a Master falconer specializing in training ball-hawks. I do understand that Cleveland and Buffalo are not the wiliest prey, but “taking wild quarry in it’s natural state” is never easy, no matter what kind of prey you are hunting.

According to the Ohio Falconry Association, some reasons for becoming a falconer include: not catching a lot of game, not having an exotic pet or impressing others, and not possessing a hawk for profit. A very positive set of reasons, no? And this is where I disagree with the professional Falconry associations, this year Dom Capers ball hawks will catch a lot of game, impress a lot of people, and the sky’s the limit for how much profit they bring to Capers and the Packers. Dom’s deviation from these strict regulations, may ostracize him from good, hawk-loving people like Kitty Tolson Carroll (check out your mouse on that site. Awesome), but it will go a long way toward endearing himself to Packer fans.

I hate to end on sad note, but a couple of months ago, I found out that Old Man Krazinski’s hawk, Bertram, died. I can’t imagine what losing his only friend will do to OMK, but in honor of him and his hawk providing me with countless hours of summer entertainment, I am respectfully dubbing Dom Capers’s ball-hawks, "The Bertrams". Here’s hoping they catch a lot prey this year.

RIP Bertram and go Pack!.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Choose the Ranter!

In what can only be described as a questionable dating move, let this Rant show that Robert Greenfield is officially choosing his dedication to the Packer Ranter over his on-again/off-again ladyfriend relationship.

Some may recall my dating adventures with diehard Bears fan Connie a while back. While it was quite the psychological hurdle to even consider dating someone who idolizes Jay Cutler, I was willing to jump it for a chance at a little-known thing called love. I chronicled some of it here and even more here and here. The entire time, I concealed my identity as Head Cheese of the Packer Ranter because a) it may have been improperly labeled as dorky and b) this is not something I share with everyone.

Well my friends, don’t make the same mistake I did and write about your personal life on the Interweb – especially with real names. A friend of a friend told Connie about my stories and let’s just say she is really ticked off. Like angry badger kind of thing. I got 3 email-fulls so far and a rather nasty voicemail to boot. Turns out that women don’t like that sort of thing EVEN THOUGH you could be totally complimentary toward them (as I tried to explain).

Things have quickly turned into what feels like a simple decision I have to make: Connie or the Ranter? Well Connie, if you are reading this, I have your answer and it goes something like:


We had some good times. We had some fun times. I will never forget that time you tried to get my barber to shave my eyebrows to “just thin them out a little” and we had the subsequent conversation about manscaping becoming more popular than MMA among the U.S. male populus (which I still disagree with, btw). Then there was that time you made my Uncle Orlo that cheeseburger surprise for his birthday and he threw up. Thrice. Those were wonderful memories I will cherish and I hope your takeaways from our time together are equally filled with fond laughter. You are a genuinely nice person and I think you will in fact make it one day as an interior designer if you stay focused and lay off the Peach Schnapps. However, I think we can both agree this was never going to work out for reasons known to you and I. I do wish you the best and will genuinely miss the smack talk. I’m sure I’ll see you at the bars.


P.S. The Bears still suck. Sorry, but they do. Cutler is overrated too. You’ll see. Devin Hester, also not good. Go Pack!

Some may think it cruel or just plain weird to write a “Dear John” letter like this and I’ve decided I’m generally OK with that. We only went on 4 dates (5 if you count the bass fishing expo) and I’m doing my best to be a gentleman otherwise. I hope you agree.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

SPEWS Is No Laughing Matter

For two weeks last summer, the library I was working at did not have the use of their air conditioning system due to some remodeling that was being done. As a book restorer, it is important that I actually repair books rather than worsen their condition. This immediately proved to be impossible as the temperature in the building was pushing the high 90’s and my hands were sweating all over the books I was working on. Moisture in any form is the arch-enemy of books…unless of course you’re writing them, in which case booze can be your greatest ally (same with Rants). I tried using paper towels, beach towels I brought from home, sweat bands, and Robert even suggested I put some Old Spice High Endurance on my hands. Needless to say none of this worked, and as a last resort I went to see a doctor to see if there was anything I could do. The doctor informed me I had SPEWS, Sweaty Palms and Excessive Wetness Syndrome, and that there is really nothing I could do.

Flash forward to this summer. By all accounts, Brian Brohm’s improvement from last season has been less than significant, and he is attributing it to having sweaty palms. To combat this, he is wearing gloves. I’m no persperologist, but I can say that his symptoms of overly sweaty hands sounds a lot like a case of SPEWS, and no glove, not even this magical one, is going to stop it. As a fellow sufferer of SPEWS I can fully relate to what Brian Brohm is going through. Society looks down their dry noses at people with sweaty palms, always considering them to be feeling guilty of something or feeling overly nervous. This is far from the truth, as I am in fact ridiculously confident in myself, and I think Brohm is too. Just read his comments after a less than stellar performance against the Browns. This guy is not nervous and doesn’t feel guilty for throwing two picks (they really weren't his fault anyway). The only thing he is guilty of is being born with three times the number of normal sweat glands on his hands, shame on you all for criticizing and making fun of a man’s medical condition.

I’m glad I could help shed some light on Brohm’s predicament and open the eyes of Packers’ fans. Support is the best way of overcoming SPEWS…that, and a waist band towel and wrist bands made of ShamWows! Seriously. It worked for me. Replace after each quarter, Brian, and you should fine…I just don't know if the glove will work against SPEWS. Best of luck.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Raji Chooses Bay View

“Gassers and striders, laps, technique things” – BJ Raji reportedly had been working out by himself for weeks at Bay View Middle School in beautiful Howard, Wisconsin. It’s good to know that the big man was staying on top of his game during the contract negotiations. It’s also interesting that of all the sweet schools in the greater Green Bay area, Raji picked Bay View Middle School. He’s BJ Raji, nose tackle for the Packers, he could have trained at any school. So why Bay View?

Turns out Bay View is fricken awesome, that’s why.

Guess how many schools receive the coveted National Blue Ribbon Award? Like, hardly any. Bay View has one. Guess how many schools have an Anti-Bullying Campaign? Bay View does. They’ve got a principal, teachers, library, summer school, handbook – the works. They actually occupy the building of a former high school, Bay Port High, simply because they rule. This place is so amazing they even have their own Pro Shop, just like the Packers. Wow.

It’s no surprise to this Ranter the school is even listed on Greatschools.net. I mean, come on, it has ‘great’ in the name! But if you’re like me, you’re still a little skeptical. After all, you could have a thousand National Blue Ribbon Awards but the students may think you deserve the National Cow Pie Award instead. Well, this 5/5 star review from an anonymous student swiftly puts an end to that argument.

“Bay Veiw is a great school. It focuses alt on students getting a good educatin and to not get bullied and to make a safe and well learning enviorment to all the students and parents and teachers”

Done. Sold. Bay View Middle School rules. My kids are going there. Yours should, too. Everyone’s should. I just hope the waiting list to get in isn’t as bad as Packer season tickets (but I would totally understand if it was).

Great choice, BJ. GREAT CHOICE.

This just in: NOOOOO!!!!! Their mascot is an eerily familiar and ugly Viking! WHY!? WHY!? WHY!?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Rob Davis is Morpheus?

"You honor our family with your prescence, Mr. Harrell, you may call me Mr. Xiong. You are a brave warrior, yet something is amiss with in your body... am I correct in assuming this?"

"Umm...yeah. I don't know why I am here really, I should probably go, this is stupid."

"Before you go, let me ask you something. Do you believe that there are alternatives to Western medicine, alternatives that may help your overcome your affliction, so you may return to the field of battle"

"Not really, I've had two surgeries by some of the best doctors in the country. I'm not really into all that Asian stuff, the only Chinese I know is General Tso (side note: General Tso is a bloodthirsty foe, but his chicken is delectable) ... the only reason I came is because Rob Davis said I should try it."

"Ahhh, Mr. Davis, yes. Mr. Davis is a very wise man, and he was also a brave warrior like yourself. Mr. Davis come to us with many injuries, and injuries that we helped him overcome to prolong his days of battle."

"Umm....yeah, that's what he told me. He said go to the end of the street, walk down the path, and stop at the green door and knock twice. Why are you at the end of this path and not in hosptial or clinic...or even a strip mall?"

"It is an important part of the healing process to separate youself from the daily routines you involve yourself in, the mind becomes clear and the body is allowed to relax. Now, please, lay down on this table, so I may begin. I will start by inserting several needles into your back along your meridians, this should begin to relieve your pain."

"Rob Davis really did this? Why didn't team doctors or trainers tell me about this?"

"Ahhh, yes, Dr. McKenzie...Mr. McKenzie is a brilliant surgeon, but he is arrogant and does not believe that alternative cures or treatments can be found. He only wants to cut, cut, cut. I simply seek to heal and relieve pain."

{poke, stab, stick}

"How do you feel, Mr. Harrell?"

"I haven't felt this good in three years! My pain is gone, and I feel stronger. I feel ready to dominate."

"You should seek to contirbute first, the domination may follow. It is not wise to be hasty." (Mr Xiong really said this, I promise. I'm not editorializing at all. I swear.)


"Nevermind, nevermind, do not listen to an old man who is not familiar with your style of battle. battle with plastic armor.....ahem, {cough}."

If we’ve learned anything from this exchange between a mysterious Green Bay acupuncturist and Harrell, as well from The Matrix, tried and true Eastern methods work best when battling modern medicine’s shortcomings, as well as human-harvesting machines. “I know kung fu.” Yes, Neo, we know.

Now, 2nd-year man, Pat Lee, has back spasms.

“Sure, Pat, go to the end of the street, walk down the path, and stop at the green door and knock twice…”

Thanks, Brian.

Update: Of course, NOW I read this. The machines have won. Zion is no more. {sigh}

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Barhopping With Bubba Franks

The year was 2007. Franklin and I had just witnessed one of the ugliest wins of the season against the Lions, but a win nonetheless in a very long season. It would’ve been an otherwise forgettable game except for two events:

1) Brett Favre became the NFL’s all-time completions leader, and
2) Afterward we went barhopping with Bubba Franks

No, Bubba didn’t drive around with us in my Packer Tercel. No, Bubba doesn’t know us from Adam. But he did end up at 3 of the 5 bars we were at that night, including the one-and-only Anduzzi's. And that basically means he was partying with us that night.

A weird thing happens when you see a celebrity in public. First, you can’t help but stare. Are you watching TV, or is this real life? Your brain needs a few moments to process this rare encounter. Then, you deliberate whether you should approach said celebrity and make contact. After all, this might never happen again and you’ll always have that memory and bragging right.

Franklin and I decided not to bother poor ol’ Bubba. He had been having his worst year ever as a pro and was getting consistently booed for uncharacteristically dropping passes all season long. (I think he even dropped a TD pass or two that day.) That last thing he needed was some random bar fan telling him things would get better for him and the Packers, but it sure was an honor to meet him, etc. But what was he doing out at the bars? And just who was he looking for? He was speed-walking around the bars on a mission for something/someone. Franklin and I merely observed (when not gnawing on deep-fried curds and dancing with the local cougars).

At the 5th and final bar of the night, we found Bubba yet again – still pacing around by himself, beerless and aimless. This Ranter had seen enough. I had to know what the deal was.

“I’m going to buy him a beer,” I told Franklin, who was busy playing paddy cake with a blonde in a Santa hat and therefore completely ignorant to my actions.

“Can I shake your hand?” I asked Bubba as he turned the corner. He was surprised, I think, because I was the first person to approach him all night. And he obliged… mostly. He kinda gave me one of those casual slapping of the hands and quickly moved on before I could ask him whether he wanted a Red or a Honeyweiss.

Yes, awkward. Yes, unnecessary. But it was totally worth it because I learned something about Bubba no one would’ve guessed: his hands were really soft! I’m talking baby soft! I turned around to Franklin and announced, “He totally moisturizes!” It was incredible. This was not some afternoon in July when a man’s hands are naturally moisturized without the aid of lotions and potions. This was below-freezing December weather in Wisconsin and this 6’6, 265-lb. gladiator had just been out there in spandex and a T-shirt battling living giants for three hours. You’d think his hands would’ve been bleeding, cracked and calloused – totally not the case.

Now the only thing that bugs me is why would a TE with such soft hands have dropped two TD passes that day? The world may never know, but this guy might.
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