Monday, June 11, 2018

Keep the street open, please

WE ARE A little sensitive when it comes to street closures around Second String Music. We understand it happens during events, and we are fine with it. But when a construction company taking out air conditioners across Maine Street doesn't pay attention to the street closure permit, well ... we are still nice about it. Sort of.

Saturday I was gone working for Gus Macker in Cape Girardeau. It was awesome, thanks for asking. Anyway, Sheryl arrived at the store and found Maine Street between Fifth and Sixth blocked off because of the AC units being removed. She'd been alerted by email by the city about the closure, which was just for Maine Street between 5th & 6th.

However, the construction company also put barricades on Fifth Street, which wasn't in the permit. Sheryl went out and politely asked if they could move the barricades, as drivers of vehicles coming up to the intersection were getting upset and it was unnecessary to place them on Fifth.

The worker didn't appreciate her request. Sheryl was as polite as possible and actually found the whole thing quite amusing. It was really funny when a little white car driven by a little old lady simply ignored a poorly placed blockade and puttered through the crane area down Maine street, causing the flustered worker to run after it and his boss to curse him out from the lift nearby.

"I'm only doing my job," the worker said. "Well, your permit doesn't allow you to block Fifth Street," Sheryl said. She went back in and alerted the proper authorities, and they guy actually took the blockades away from the intersection at Fifth. Sheryl then went out and thanked him, but the guy wasn't happy and said to her, "You could have been nicer about it!" Apparently he hasn't seen Sheryl when she isn't being nice..... She told him to re-evaluate his definition of nice and walked back into the store.

Later, Officer Erin Dusch showed up, she and Sheryl agreed that people needed to actually look at their permits and to not illegally block streets. Fortunately the rest of the day went smoothly, even though they finished up an hour later than they were supposed to. Sheryl let it go. It's all peace love joy at Fifth and Maine, you know.

We will have several events in the month of June that will block 5th & Maine. Please keep in mind that the store owners on Maine need YOU to shop our stores even when the streets are blocked. Have patience with us, with the downtown events and help us stay in business by shopping your local small businesses.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

A pro at getting lost

I AM A PROFESSIONAL when it comes to getting lost and taking the wrong road. It's an acquired skill, mostly from my mother. I'm not proud when it comes to getting lost, though I can usually figure it out. Usually.

Tomorrow I'm heading to Cape Girardeau, Mo., to work for Gus Macker. I'm stopping in St. Louis to pick up Marshall Newman, the event manager. I have his address. I have the directions.

And, I will get lost.

In the immortal words of the J. Geils Band, "It's okay I understand this ain't no never never land." My lack of directional skills drives Sheryl nuts, and understandably so. She can find places by following her nose. No GPS needed.

We are soon heading to Canada (assuming what's his name, the guy at the White House, hasn't done something else dumb to endanger border relations to the north) and I will put Sheryl in charge of the directions. We made it the last time we went there, three years ago, and I remain ever hopeful we'll arrive in one piece and without getting lost.

At least I'm a pro at something.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Where is our trip to the White House?

IN 2007, THE Herald-Whig sponsored slow-pitch softball team dominated the Division IV league. I don't think we lost a game all year, and we ended the season with a convincing win in our final game to clinch the championship. We celebrated with beer and champagne showers, and the trophy is still sitting on a filing cabinet in the Whig editorial department.

I think we were called the Herald-Whig Demons. Don O'Brien, then the sports editor, wrote a blog recapping each game. It's probably still out there on the dark web. It was required reading after each game. 

My memory is foggy in general, but I seem to recall us trying to arrange to visit the White House to commemorate the remarkable season. Unfortunately two of us didn't stand for the national anthem before a game ... wait. We never did play the national anthem before our games. What the ... no wonder we didn't get an official invitation!

So I called the White House the other day and asked if we could still get in - it's only been 11 years. The assistant to the district supervisor of the left half of the cubicle told me our request would be filed and considered, since there are no other teams visiting the White House right now.

He called me back this morning. "Sorry, you SOB," he said. "You have no respect for your country since you didn't stand for the national anthem. Plus we found out you are Canadian and used to write for the fake mainstream news. VERY SAD. We don't like journalists and we hate Canadians and our beer is better. So. Don't call back."

Rats. Time to come up with another way to celebrate our historic milestone of a season. We could congregate at a Blues In The District this summer, or gather at a local pub, or even go up to Moorman Park, the scene of many a Demons triumph.

Or we could visit the REAL White House. You know, the Hart House Manor in Calftown. It has white siding, barking dogs and a cat that thinks she's a dog, our kitchen is torn apart and the garden in the back is completely out of control. In other words, it's chaos in Calftown, sort of like it is at the other White House.

Wait a second ... Chaos In Calftown would be a GREAT name of a band. We will hire them to play at the Herald-Whig Demons championship celebration. It will be more fun, anyway. Besides, it's too hot in Washington this time of year.

And we'll party like it's 2007.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Kart races are back

THE KART RACES are back in Quincy, and we are excited for Terry Traeder and the crew. It used to be an annual event and was sorely missed around here, and South Park will be the place to be Sunday.

The official name is the Quincy Grand Prix of Karting. I remember the event in South Park when I was sports editor at The Whig more than 20 years ago. One Sunday I walked up there and spent the day with the late Gus Traeder writing about the races, and it was a blast.

The details are blurry now, but I do remember the end of one race. A karter was in the lead the whole way and came around the last corner in the clear. The karter right behind him had no chance to pass, so he simply rammed into his competitor. There was a huge crash into the hay bales, and one of the guys simply got out of his kart and pushed it across the finish line to take the checkered flag. I was somewhat horrified and amazed the two karters weren't seriously hurt, but everybody shrugged it off as "just racing" and continued on like nothing happened.

I moved to Quincy in September of 1996. I stayed at a downtown hotel but I couldn't get near it because there was a massive karting race in the downtown streets. I thought, "Geesh, this town really loves its sports and events and karting." I was right on all accounts.

South Park is the perfect place for the kart races. The road has been resurfaced and the park itself is in great shape. I wandered up there for Germanfest last Saturday, and since it was a nice night, it was packed. How cool is it to see thousands of people hanging out on a summer night enjoying one of our oldest and most classic parks?

If you are going Sunday, get there early to grab your spot on the hill. Bring some bug spray and an umbrella, it's supposed to be hot, and enjoy a Quincy tradition making a long-awaited return.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Sidewalk time!

IT'S SUMMER. THIS means the sidewalk at the corner of Fifth and Maine gets a lot of action. This is the first Friday in forever I haven't had to work or had something happening, so I hereby declare this to be an official holiday, and we need to convene the Sidewalk Chalk Association this afternoon to celebrate.

Adam Yates, Frank Haxel and myself are the officers. Frank is Commissioner, I'm First Lead Assistant and Adam is Sgt. At Arms. Sheryl is Supreme Commander, and that's just in general, not just for the sidewalk. Thank goodness somebody around here is responsible and can stay steady when the Chalk starts flying.

It won't be this busy this afternoon ... or will it?
Sitting on the sidewalk is an exacting science and requires some training, so if you are around this afternoon we start about 4. You have to know how to not sit in the sun if it's too hot - this involves setting up a tent, which also involves saying "Frank, go get the tent." It will be warm this afternoon and if necessary, we can flee inside Second String Music and take advantage of the new air conditioning.

There are rules for Sidewalk Chalk. First of all, never go back inside to get a drink of water before checking to see if anybody else needs a drink of water. Secondly, waive to anybody who honks or crashes into buildings. Third, there are no other rules, other than to make sure we don't block the sidewalk and you can easily access the corner and the front door. We don't usually have to call the police because they are already here.

The main reason for practice this afternoon is that Blues In The District is just a week away, and that's when the professionals take over the corner of Fifth and Maine. All are welcome, but if you are an amateur just be patient and you will soon learn the ways of The Force ... er, the Chalk.

Let summer commence!