Herald and Journal
Herald & Journal, October 5, 1998

Politics, baseball, swing, and the year 2000


If you like, you can mull over these few tidbits.

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The political season is here. Aren't you glad?

I saw political ads on TV back in July. By November's election day we'll be fed up to here with them. One solution I've found for those numerous TV ads is a little button on my remote that says "mute." Try it sometime, you'll like it.

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There's a song from the days of the big bands that's called "It Don't Mean a Thing If You Ain't Got That Swing." From what I hear, swing is the thing in dance halls and clubs today. In Milwaukee, I understand there are a half dozen night clubs that feature swing dancing . . . what we used to call "jitterbugging." The bands are not as big as the bands of old, but they're playing swing. Dance instructors are busy teaching the dances.

I recently met a man whose profession is music teacher in a middle school But his part time job is playing trombone in dance bands like the Dick Jurgens and Guy Lombardo bands. He's kept busy almost every weekend. It's a very fruitful and enjoyable part-time job.

This past summer he played on a river cruise with the Jurgens band. As they left the ship, the Harry James band came aboard for the next cruise. The big band leaders are gone for the most part, but their music lives on. My friend reports that they do a lot of ballroom playing in Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. So maybe the bands and their great music are back. Trouble is, us old folks can't jitterbug anymore.

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I'm glad to hear that the Twins are sticking around for a couple more years. I wonder what a new governor and legislature will do about a new ballpark. Here in Wisconsin, the Brewers are building a new park. It's supposed to be ready for the start of the year 2000 season.

Big flap a couple of months ago was who's going to pay for what part of the park ­ the Brewers, city of Milwaukee or the state. Biggest flap was the "discovery" that the city was to pay for a beer garden in the parking lot that would cost a million dollars to build. What kind of tavern or saloon could you build for that kind of money?

The mayor said taxpayers are not going to pay for that. It turns out that the ball club will pay for it. Wisconsinites sure love their beer.

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Much has been said about the year 2000 computer problems. If it's not fixed, "00" will mean 1900 instead of 2000.

But there's another problem. Many tombstones and headstones in cemeteries all over the county will have to be re-engraved. Some stones have the year of birth inscribed and for the year of death as 19--. It apparently is not a good idea if the future occupant of the grave is still alive when the year 2000 arrives. Stonecutters and engravers have their job cut out for them.

I think the arrival of 2000 will give us a lot of problems if the "year 2000" problems are not solved by then.

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