What was the Chance I'd miss this?

OK, I've turned into one of those people, those people who say, "Ah, I don't go out on New Year's Eve...." Partially because the truth of the matter is I can't afford a sitter. Also because I don't feel like paying three times the $$$ that I'd pay for a beer on any other night. Also because it is, well, Amateur Night and I don't feel like sharing the road with some messed up drunk.

Granted, I did go out earlier in the evening. First stop was my traditional stop at the Safe House. I've written about their schtick before: they celebrate midnight around the globe, so the kids can ring in the new year in the Greek Islands at 4 pm, Rome at 5 pm, and London/Paris at 6 pm, with appropriate hors'o'deurves for each city. (Of course, the Safe House picks the glam cities in each time zone -- the sort of locales where JB himself would stumble into to get his latest gadget from Q -- not necessarily North Malden.) The kids are usually good for about two time zones and then they've had it.

Next stop was my friend Mary Jo's -- and she hosted a family freindly New Year's Eve at her house. There were a bunch of kids upstairs, two of the kids are hers and since I've known them since birth there was the obligatory "Oh my god they've grown" exchange. Here's what happens when you send a plate full of bacon-wrapped water chestnuts up to a roomfull of pre-teen and teenage kids. Lots of laughs when the plate came back down. But we didn't stay for midnight. I was kind of tired myself, and we went home to watch a re-run of Seacrest with the husband and kids. (Brian didn't feel like going out at all. Don't blame him, really.)

So, normally, I'd be happy with my holiday and not complain that I'd missed anything until I got an email from my friend, bass player Andy Aeros Kaiser, inviting me to see pictures he took of James Chance at the Circle A.

Wait wait wait whoa whoa whoa! James Chance at the Circle A?!?!?! THEE James Chance? As in "Contort Yourself"? James White and the Blacks James Chance? The Sax Maniac himself?

Andy returned my email to confirm Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes. "He played along to James Brown & Contortions tracks & ad-libbed vocals for about an hour, " Kaiser reports. And here's kind of the sad part: "Wasn't even that crowded." Well, maybe that's what Chance wanted. Just goes to show you its a good thing the Circle A is back up and running, if that was one of the good things that happened in 2010. Magical moments happen in that little room all the time, and this particular time I wasn't there to see it, but I grudgingly have to say it warms my heart that we have a place in Milwaukee where stuff like this happens. Anyway, here's a set of photographic evidence, courtesy Andy Aeros Kaiser.

Well, January 1st came along, and it was the first time this season the family got their butts out to a Bucks game, and even without Brandon Jennings, it was good to see the team together. It was a "New Year's Day Party" theme, so they had specials such as $1 hot chocolate (which came in handy since the wind blew in a NASTY cold....) and there was a nice touch in the form of red sparkly sprinkles on the whipped cream. Anthem from a group of middle-aged men called the "Holden On Quartet" which thankfully wasn't a barbershop group. (The tenor DID have the melody) and they didn't have a really high pitched voice, so they didn't go for the gold on "Laaaaaand of the free." But that would have sounded obnoxious. These guys played it safe, and thus it worked. Opening montage was OK, I guess. Not over the top, but maybe the background music could be better. It's some kind of ballad, instead of some stadium-like anthem it needs to be. Because of that, the whole steam stacks (the ones that make you think "I am the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz) they use when introducing the players seem even more ridiculous.

The Bucks did not play it safe. Two men down (and later in the game, that made three when Mbah A Moute had to leave the game with a mild concussion. There was a scare in the third quarter when Dallas actually came ahead, but Bango's team made up for Bucky's embarassment at the Nose Blow earlier in the day. (I watched the Rose Bowl simply because it was on. Sorry, I went to Illinois. I really don't care about the Badgers. Oh, and I don't really care about Marquette all that much either.) But sixthstation readers know I normally will tell you all about the halftime entertainment, which Stella said was terrific, but I didn't get to see. Why not? Well, Sammy and I decided to take advantage of another of the evening's specials, the two-for-one jumbo hot dogs.

Now, you would think the guy running concessions would say to himself, "Let's see. It's two minutes before halftime. We're running a special here on dogs. And in fact, that special expires after halftime is over. There will be a rush on these starting... oh, well about now. Perhaps I should put some on." You would think that, but you would be wrong. Once Sammy and I got to the front of the line (which was rather quick -- it was two minutes before halftime, not halftime itself, after all....) it was at least 10 or so minutes (the guy said "Oh, about five" -- and he told another customer five minutes later the same thing -- when I piped in "Uh, you told us five minutes five minutes ago!" before they were finally up. At least they were hot. Fail.

One final note about the Bucks' entertainment: Why don't you just cut the act, buy some stripper poles for the Energee girls and be done with it already? But it's OK. The Bucks pulled out a win, and it's nice to see that happening more often than not these days. Nice start to the year -- and at least I didn't have to miss that.


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