Thursday, September 01, 2005

A curiosity of Irish Fest

Two weekends ago, I went to Milwaukee to hit IKEA with Yosh so he could shop for a couch and a TV stand. He found a lovely TV stand at IKEA and an even lovelier leather couch at Dinesen's in Milwaukee. Congratulations, Yosh!

After this whirlwind of driving and shopping, we decided to go on a pub crawl before heading to Irish Fest to see a bunch of drunk, red-haired, fair-skinned and pugnacious people (I'm all out of you have more?). The first and, it turns out, only stop was at County Clare Inn and Pub. We'd intended on going to a few more Irish joints before heading to the Fest, but the Guinness was awesome, the locale was lovely, and we saw they had a free shuttle to the Summerfest grounds for the festival.

How could we lose?

So, we ordered a few pints from the nice bartender who looked like Rob Killips and then hopped on the shuttle, a school bus, natch. After getting dropped off at the Summerfest grounds, we walked around for a bit, getting our bearings amongst countless Guinness t-shirts and apparel-oriented odes to Eire. Toward the northern end of the grounds, we got an absolutely lovely dinner of corned beef and cabbage, potatoes and bread, washed down with a side of cheezy potatoes.

At that point, we made the horrible realization that we'd been at Irish Fest a whole hour and hadn't yet gotten a beer. Shocking! So, we skedaddled to Lakefront Brewery's stand on the shore of the lagoon. I had Snake Chaser Irish Stout, and Yosh had Riverwest Stein.

So, you might be wondering why I haven't mentioned having a Guinness at Irish Fest. Well, that's a funny story. Turns out the major sponsor of Irish Fest is Miller. Not surprising, since it's in Milwaukee and Miller owns Milwaukee. The only problem is that Guinness is distributed by Budweiser. Ahhhhhhh...

That's right, people. The Irish Fest was without Guinness. Is it even permissable to call it an Irish Fest? I have to wonder.

The rest of the evening was filled with drinking. I remember it all, but it's probably boring if you weren't there. But, I did impress Yosh by opening some weak-ass guy's beer against our bar table. Hey, I have a few tricks up my sleeve...

I've been away a while

I've been neglecting my blog, and I'm shocked that I haven't gotten a prompting nudge from Mom. I suppose I don't have much excuse, other than that I haven't much felt like blogging lately. I suppose it goes in cycles.

But, I'm back, and, though much has probably happened in my life, it all feels very small and unimportant compared to acknowledging what is happening on the Gulf coast right now. Katrina has come and gone, and though she was a formidable storm, she's almost an afterthought now compared to what's left in her wake. It's almost like the storm itself doesn't even matter anymore -- what's left after her is too big, too disturbing, too chaotic, too tragic.

I made a donation to the Red Cross today, and felt like crying when the note came from our blood drive coordinator at work saying the Red Cross is in such dire need of blood. I really wish I could donate. I'm still so mad about that. But, since I can't donate blood, I made a monetary donation. Hopefully it will buy some water or antiseptic or boots or bandages or shovels or garbage bags. I'm not sure it'll buy hope, though, which is what it sounds like New Orleans and the other affected areas are desperately lacking.

The news articles are almost too painful to read. Hearing about the conditions at the Superdome, the place that was to be a haven for those who couldn't evacuate, and how it turned into a prison where there was no air conditioning, no working toilets, and where the stench was so bad that medical personnel walked around with masks on. Though I was disgusted to hear that people were shooting at the military helicopters that were helping with the evacuation, I can't say I'm entirely surprised. In times of such intense stress, I don't think it takes much for us to lose our sense of civilization. We are not that far removed from animals. I guess it's a good thing animals can't comprehend the concept of handguns.

There was a quote in an article on MSNBC referring to the evacuation of New Orleans that almost made me cry:

"Many people had dogs and they cannot take them on the bus. A police officer took one from a little boy, who cried until he vomited. 'Snowball, Snowball,' he cried. The policeman told a reporter he didn’t know what would happen to the dog."

Now, tell me. Why can't the people take their dogs on the bus? If your dog is part of your family, and you cared enough about it to keep it out of harm's way (certainly the responsible pet owner's choice), and your city is drowning around you and you've lost everything else you own, why would dogs not be allowed on the buses? Is it worth it to create unnecessary heartache to uphold a rule in a city that's now practically without rules? What would've been the harm of carrying the dog on the bus? Maybe that just hits me hard because I'd do everything I could to keep my dog with me if I had to evacuate my home due to some natural disaster. She is part of my family, and I would want to hold her close.

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this hurricane. May God give you hope, patience and peace.