I’ve been a sports aficionado for as long as I can remember. I used to play baseball, stick ball, wiffle ball, street football, basketball, roughhouse, horse, pig and I also have been known to ‘play catch’ from time to time.
Aside: Why is it called ‘play catch’ anyway? It’s not really playing anything. You’re having a catch. Always wondered about this. It’s not really a big deal, and doesn’t lessen the impact of playing catch in the slightest, regardless of what term is used.
Back to the Green Jacket thing. In recent days, I have been listening to sports radio again, after not having listened for quite a while. I could not have picked a worse time to have resumed this (usually) soothing and relaxing pastime. I have an unwritten rule when it comes to sports radio (a rule, like the ones in baseball, except there’s only one, it makes sense, and it only really affects me).
Change the station (or turn the radio off) the second they start talking about golf.
I do not get golf at all (happily, I am not the only one). To me, it’s just boring to watch. And the only thing that could possibly be more boring is to listen to someone talk about golf. And it’s not a sport. Any more than bowling, pool, croquet or bocce are sports. They’re all skill games or activities – but not sports. I concede that it probably takes a good amount of skill (and beer) to be good at golf. I just don’t care. It’s not for me.
And yes, an argument could be made that if I was better at golf or if I understood it better that I would really come to love it. And that if I don’t like it, then what about the millions of fans who do? Surely, they can’t all be wrong, right? Well, I do understand golf well enough, thank you, and I am working on 30+ years of being bored by it. Hard habit to break. And I do believe that millions of fans can be wrong…
But all that is mere conversation (or vehement disagreement). As of Thursday, April 11th, the Masters is back! Four days of endless fun! Winner gets a green jacket! Woo hoo! Cue the mindless chatter about Tiger Freaking Woods and his place in the golfing world. I was so much happier when he was out of the picture. Now that he’s back, it’s back to routine. They tell you where Tiger placed. They tell you what his chances are of making the cut. Of winning. Of his chase of Jack Nicklaus and number of golf titles won. And if you let them, golf enthusiasts will talk to you for hours about it.
What the hell kind of a sport is predicated on the presence of one guy? The pinheads on ESPN’s morning radio show would tell me and the other listeners (more than once) that Tiger Woods IS golf. That even someone who doesn’t like golf would stop and watch if Tiger was on the screen. Never mind the fact that the golf broadcasters do what they can to ensure that he’s on the screen as much as possible….
But what is that about? No other sport has this. Nobody watches a football game because Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers is playing in it. This might be a secondary reason, but it’s not the main reason. Folks watch football because they love the game. Same for baseball. Who watches solely because Albert Pujols is playing? Or Derek Jeter? I don’t. I watch because the Phillies are on and I like to watch baseball.
So, yeah – golf. I kinda hoped that it would fade from the firmament of the sports stations once el Tigre was out of sight. But it didn’t – so perhaps, despite what Mike Greenberg would tell you – there is more to golf and it’s fans than just Tiger. Now he’s back and so is the cavalcade of background hiss that accompanies him and his – activity.
As with so many things, maybe it’s just me. I don’t want to rain on the golf fan’s parade, but I do wish that sports folks in general would ratchet back the golf stuff a bit. You’re just a bit too enthusiastic. I get it – you like golf - but the golfspeak can get quite a bit tedious. It’s just a … game?
Based on what I am seeing on Facebook, I am apparently the only person on Earth who is not lamenting the season’s end of The Walking Dead and also not watching (nor have ever watched) Mad Men.
But that’s OK – this sort of thing isn’t exactly new territory for me. I am often on the opposite side of the fence on matters such as this. For example: I never saw an episode of Lost. I know. I’ll pause now so you can pick up your drink, or get your heart restarted or just allow time for you to recover from the shock of this bombshell.
While I am sure that Mad Men is a fine TV show, and I am sure that the near universal praise for the show is fully and truly warranted – I have little interest in watching it. And truth be told, for whatever reason – I never did. My reasons for this are best kept to myself. Suffice it to say that I see Mad Men as a fairly generic, sterotypical, recycled set up that has been covered many times over by countless TV shows before it.
I’m sure that this is a narrow minded and frustratingly dismissive attitude to take, but I’ve gotta be me. Sometimes I will decide years later to check out a show from the past and find out that my assessment of it was inaccurate. I don’t see that happening here, but you never know. I can see this happening with Lost, but not with Mad Men. Time will tell.
Now, the Walking Dead is another story. I did watch the first season, and thought it was one of the best shows around. All I needed to hear is that it was based on a comic book and that Frank Darabont (he of Shawshank Redemption fame) was going to be the writer/director for at least some of it, and I was intrigued. And was not disappointed.
Those first six episodes were chilling, compelling, horrifying and just plain fun. Everything you’d want a show to be! At least, what you’d want a horror show to be. I found the story and characters intriguing and the acting and writing was top notch. Every episode left me wanting more, and wanting to see what happened next.
Season two was another story. Started off with a hootenanny, then got a mite slow midway through. Came up with a humdinger of a midseason finale, then drifted back to meandering until the end of the sophomore offering. Unlike with the first season, I was not left with a burning desire to see the next season. I was interested, but the luster had faded. And I think that Darabont had since moved on to other projects somewhere during the season.
I watched maybe the first two or three installments of season three, then called it quits. Among my ill conceived reasons:
- I thought that the return of Andrea (truly, is there any more annoying character in TV history? If that’s her goal, the actress is doing an amazing job)
- the emergence of Carl as a gun toting twerp
- the inexplicable way that Andrea and Michionne were surprised by Merle (you’re on the run from zombies! all the time! any lapse in judgment could mean a grisly death! And you allow some dumb ass to sneak up on you?!?!?)
- Hershel getting bitten in what I thought was an obvious set up in the prison. I can’t have been the only viewer who saw that coming as soon as they set up the scene, right? And I’m hardly clairvoyant and I’m not saying that I’m great for seeing this…. I was annoyed when it happened.
Perhaps it’s for the best. I mean, we are talking about the extermination of the human race here. Eventually, all of these people will be Zombie Chow. I think I got the best of what the show had to offer, and I look back fondly to the scenes and moments that made the first two seasons so … utterly watchable.
Now, the good news in all of this is that I have a new show to be looking forward to: Joss Whedon’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. After The Avengers, I will definitely be giving this a look. And who knows, if things go well it could join Arrow and Big Bang Theory in a very exclusive club.
That being shows that I watch with anything resembling consistency.
I have noted in a few other articles on this blog that I had written articles for other blogs prior to this one. I managed to export a majority of the articles to this blog, but I have found that there were a few articles that didn’t make it. I have since reposted a few of these articles with a little blurb about when it was originally written and what the article was about.
In this case, I don’t think I need to say much. Jackie Robinson is an honored name in baseball, and absolutely should be. He was an excellent baseball player, and an even more courageous man. This article was originally posted April 16, 2008, on ArmchairGM, a long defunct sports wiki I contributed to a few years back. As the movie 42 is about to come out, I thought it would be fun to re-present it here and now. I hope you enjoy it.
By the way – I noticed that 42 is coming out on April 12. Considering that Jackie’s historic day was April 15, 1947 – I think they should have held the release for 3 days. I guess a Monday release would be a bit unusual, but I think this was an occasion that would warrant deviation from what is usually done.
An Interesting Jackie Robinson Story: Perception In 1989
In lieu of making up stories, or reading the same books over and over again, I have been reading baseball stories to my son at bedtime. The stories come from a book called “Peanuts and Crackerjack: A Treasury of Baseball Legends and Lore” by David Cataneo.
I’ve read the fine articles that other users have written for AGM telling their stories of Jackie Robinson. I chose not to write anything because I felt that my own account would pretty much echo many others that have been written. The man is a legend and any baseball fan knows this without me cobbling together another article.
But then I came across this story in this book. The story opens with this: “By the late 1980′s, the Jackie Robinson story had settled firmly into American history, and, like Antietam, Sam Tilden, and the Works Project Administration, the Jackie Robinson story was becoming largely forgotten.”
Can you believe this? I can’t imagine this being the case, but check this quote out: “It has been largely forgotten. We see that as we go from city to city. We see schoolchildren who don’t know who Jackie Robinson was. They know the name, but not who he was. I do fear he will be forgotten.”
Who was the speaker here? [Jackie's widow] Rachel Robinson.
It may be true that MLB is gimmickising Jackie Robinson. But now that I’ve read these words by Rachel Robinson, I’m glad MLB did what it did. I can’t imagine baseball today without all fans stopping for a moment on April 15th to remember a great baseball player…and a great man.
I’d like to think that Rachel Robinson would be proud to see the reverence in which Jackie is held today. I’m glad she lived to see all of the accolades that came Jackie’s way after 1989.
I’m proud to be a baseball fan on this day, and even more proud to be a Jackie Robinson fan. He changed baseball forever through talent, dignity and bravery. And none of us who are baseball fans should ever forget that.
Here’s an interesting Scholastic article/interview with Rachel Robinson from 1998, if you’re interested in reading more about her.
This week marks the 45th anniversary of the theatrical release of Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is not so much a review as an anecdote of my experience with the film and how I grew to appreciate it as the greatest science fiction film ever made. Click on the image or the link below to read more.
I have finished writing up the journal of my trip to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in 2009, complete with photos like the one above. The following links will take you to the posts on my blog:
- Eurotrip 2009 Part 1: Rothenburg
- Eurotrip 2009 Part 2: Munich
- Eurotrip 2009 Part 3: Neuschwanstein and Innsbruck
- Eurotrip 2009 Part 4: Lucerne
- Eurotrip 2009 Part 5: Heidelberg
And here is a video compilation from the trip:
[Reblogged from Rappa Studios]
I stumbled across a few small videos I shot while in Croatia in November of 2011 that I forgot to include in my main Eurotrip 2011 video, so I thought I’d compile them here.
In honor of the upcoming season premiere of Game of Thrones and Dubrovnik’s connection to the show, I have scored the video with the main theme from the series.
I chose to smooth-out the video using youtube’s smoothing software, which resulted in quite wacky behavior of the title captions at the beginning, but the rest of the video is nice and smooth, so once you get past the opening captions, it’s smooth sailing—do you think I used the word ‘smooth’ enough in that last sentence?
On March 23rd there was finally a clear enough sky in Central Jersey to try and get a good view of Comet Pan-STARRS so I ventured out for some stargazing and photos. To read more and see more photos, click on the picture above or the link below:
Those of you who have – like me – read the book Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and have also seen the movie of the same name will have little trouble, I am sure, conjuring up the image. Said image being that of Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter, side by side in the cave, risking their lives to thwart the evil wizard Lord Voldemort.
For the uninitiated, Dumbledore and Harry were looking to procure – and then destroy – a horcrux, which is an infernal magical object into which a madman has encased a piece of his soul. It’s a nasty business, and in this case, nearly a fatal one. However, as is usually the case (Martin Scorcese notwithstanding), the heroes triumphed and lived to fight another day.
The plot was diabolical. In order to retrieve the magically protected horcrux, Dumbledore was left with no other option but to drink the unkown potion in the basin where the horcrux had been placed. Consumption of this dreaded concoction, it turns out, causes the drinker to relive his or her most horrible moments, weakening them to a near death state. And it also leaves them with a burning thirst.
The final magical protection the horcrux had was that the only source of water that could be found was the water in the pool surrounding the island on which the aforementioned basin rested. Any and all attempts to produce water via magic, and therefore, any attempts to circumvent the perfidious enchantment cast on the cave, were doomed to failure.
So, Harry did the only thing he could, which was to retrieve water from the pool. This action triggered the final trap, which, perpetrated against a lesser wizard, would have resulted in a gruesome and unimaginable death.
And then it occurred to me. A great idea for promotional campaign. Dig it if you will: Any and all attempts to produce water were doomed to failure. But what about other beverages? Orange Juice, perhaps? Vodka? Coffee? I know that an ice cold German beer is something I very much enjoy to slake my thirst. German beer – and Diet Coke.
Re-imagine, if you will, the scene I had described previously. Dumbledore, having drunk the potion, appearing to Harry to be on death’s door. Weak, disoriented and cursed with a burning thirst that can’t be quenched.
Harry attempts to summon water. Due to the dark magic about the cave, it disappears just as quickly as it appeared. Another summoning attempt. Same result. A third try. A fourth failed attempt, and despair filling Harry like the ineffectual air filling a pool toy courtesy of a frazzled parent just looking for peace.
Then, the camera focuses on Harry’s tortured face. Suddenly, a small grin crosses his face. Instead of “aguamenti” Harry calls out “makeitreal” and an icy cold Diet Coke appears in his hand, open and ready to drink. Harry pours some into Dumbledore’s waiting mouth, and as soon as the drink passes his lips, he springs up, revived and refreshed.
A la “Mean” Joe Green in that famous ’70s commercial, Dumbledore downs the remainder of the soda in one continuous chug. Finished, Dumbledore holds the empty bottle at arm’s length, and smiles broadly. Then, he turns to the camera and says “Life Tastes Good!” Cut. Print.
BETC London, I’ll be expecting that call any day now. You’re welcome.
When I visited the medieval walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia in November of 2011, I had no idea that one of my favorite television shows, Game of Thrones, had just recently finished filming its second season there. I thought it might be cool to share some of the photos from my trip that match up with locations from the television series. To read more and see the photos, click the link below: