Thursday, September 28, 2006


My favorite line from the Bill Simmons (Sports Guy) chat session yesterday on ESPN, Page 2:

Elias Sports Bureau (Somewhere, US): TO has officially broken the long-standing record for "most awkward and fake smiling in a suicide-attempt-prompted live press conference by a distracting wide receiver that has to play with Drew Bledsoe."

That about says it all...


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sunny Day

Sun feels really good today. If you get a chance, check it out.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Post Birth

Okay, so Andrew is here and we are starting to get settled in. Pretty exciting stuff. We've had about 100 visitors in the past week, so that's been pretty hectic. Maggie's been trying to get some rest, but she's a pretty social person, so there's been some balancing there. For my part, I have bunkered down in Ralph's Place - the basement, a bit more than usual, having a couple drinks at the bar and playing some ABPA baseball with my son, while my daughter, Mariah, plays around with the toys down there. Hopefully, this gives Mom some quiet time...

One new thing we've been doing is watching the reruns, of the HBO show, The Wire. Fascinating show about (at least in Season One) a group of Baltimore police trying to bust up a drug ring in the projects. It was recommended by one of my favoriate columnists, the Sports Guy, and unlike the last video I rented on his recommendation, The Ancorman, the Wire has delivered. We've watched the first five episodes so far, and there very entertaining on several levels. You've got the whole entertaining police things going, some solid production work, a good story, and some urban culture stuff. It's good because appeals to both Maggie and I and there aren't too many shows that do that. Generally, I avoid police dramas, but this show hits many points of life and expands beyond its police/crime pacakaging. Don't know what we're going to do after we finish up with season 1, but for now, because the baby oddly likes to stay awake between about 9 .m. and 1 a.m. - perfect for the bar scene later in life I guess - the Wire is making good filler for us.

I've also watched a couple of Bills games this year and listened to one. Although Red on his radio show yesterday said he was impressed, I unfortunately am not. They laid a big egg vs. the Jets, despite outgaining them all over the field. However, as we've seen for years, moving the ball between the 20s does no one any good in the long run. You've got to punch it in.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Baby Drew

HAPPY Birthday Big Boy!

This is our baby. Born yesterday. Pretty exciting. Everything went well. Mom in hosptial recovering. I'm headed down to see them.



Thursday, September 14, 2006

Oscar Gamble & In the Name of the Rose

I scribbled this little ditty down as a printed poem, but couldn't figure out how to scan and post at a high enough resolution so here's the typed translation. Hope you enjoy:

Two themes here
Oscar Gamble - sweet swingin' lefty.
Played for the Indians and the Yankees
And other teams I think.
About 5'11", 170-if that
But a big power hitter.
Bat Speed man
And a great big Afro
Big Afro
All-time hair team

In the Name of the Rose
Have you read it?
They made a movie
with Sean Connery
But have you read it
Solid Long complex rewarding
the monks in this book get up at like 2 a.m.
Go to bed at 7 p.m.
Why do they do that?
My wife says it's because it's peaceful at that hour.
Because no one else is up.
But these guys live on a mountain
Where no one else is.
They sleep on hay

My son was watching an informercial the other day
It was about bedbugs
Do you have bed bugs?
Do we have bed bugs?
He wants to take his pillowcase into my Dad's
His grandfather's (who is a microbiologist) lab
And check it for bed bugs
My Dad
Who is at dinner
Says no, nobody has bedbugs today unless they're
really really dirty. Unless they don't change their
sheets for a month
Is that true?
Then why was this informerical guy showing this
But he (my Dad) did say back in the old days
when people slept on hay
They had bugs - hay bugs - or bed bugs in hay
which was laying on the bed
Made me think of the monks
Who in the 14th century abbot
Slept on hay
Did they have bugs?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Heritage Day

This is some of what when on at the bayfront on Saturday. It was Heritage Day in Erie, and all the museums had free admission. We went down to the Liberty Bayfront Park to watch the Niagra and U.S.S. Baltimore sail by. I got some pictures of the Baltimore too, but this one of the Niagra was my best shot. Niagra was in full sail, while the Baltimore only had about three sails unfurled, so our ship looked better anyway. There was also some cool canon firing going on, both from the shore and a few from the ships. Then, we made it over the firefighters museum on 5th and Chesnut. Really quite a neat place that has been there for 30 years, but I never knew it. Packed with all sorts of old firefighting memoriabelia, including trucks, hand pumps, axes, equipment, you name it, and it's all in an old firehouse. The guide told me a story about when they used to have horses pull the pumps and how the horses were so well trained that when the bell rang, they would circle to the front of the fire station and have their saddles dropped on them from some sort of pully system and they'd be ready in like 3 seconds. He said, it was even faster than you could get a truck out the door.



Saturday, September 09, 2006

"Attack of the Mammoth"

Attack of the Mammoth is a Native American Myth from long ago. It's quite powerful.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day

Happy holiday everybody. Sure, summer seems to have crashed and burned, but that hasn't stopped me from having a great Labor Day weekend - even though I am laboring a bit in the office today - such are the sacrifices we make sometimes to run our own business. Work on off days, but still, it's worth it to be able to take off from work days when you really need to.

Like to sent a special shout out to a couple Ralph's Place regulars who hosted outstanding soirees over the weekend. Stan, you the man. Tremendous amounts of copious (tremendous amounts and copious mean the same thing I think) wine drinking Friday night, great conversation flowing just like the magic nectar of the grapes pouring into the cups around the table... Also, Big Jim threw a nice cookout yesterday. Great ribs and then a tremendous bonfire talkfest to finish the night off. Heard a tremendous story about a killer (literally) running a Chinese masseuse parlor somewhere in Mars, PA. Good times all around.

Weather looks like it's shaping up a bit, but then more showers. Oh well, it was a good, if abbreviated, summer.



Friday, September 01, 2006

1981 All Star Game

I don't know if the Indians had off, or their game was over or rained out, but last night, when I got home after the Seawolves game at like 10 p.m., Fox Sports Ohio was showing the 1981 MLB All-Star game. I found the action riveting.

The game took place at Cleveland's old Municipal Stadium and was "almost a sellout." I'm kind of disspointed I wasn't there, as I was like 14... I barely remember the game, but for some reason, when Gary Carter came up in like the fifth inning, I knew in advance he was going to hit a home run. He actually hit another one later and was the MVP.

1981 was the year of the strike that split the season, and this was the first game following the strike, so it was a bit controversial, and nobody knew how the players would look or the fans would react. Players looked great. There was some solid hitting by the likes of Ken Singleton, Eddie Murray, Dave Winfield, Mike Easler, Dave Parker, etc. And the fans seemed fairly happy, but then again with was at the old stadium and it was hard not to have a good time there.

It did strike me how much the game has changed in some 25 years. To me it seems like this was almost yesterday, but on screen it looked like ancient history. Just the italics used in the graphics, for instance. Or, how un-buff, and skinny the players were. Clearly no juice in these days. Also, you had things like Bucky Dent being pinch hit for. I don't think any manager would dare insult a player in today's day and age by pinch hitting for him in an All-Star game for any other reason than a scheduled substitution. Dent was clearly replaced in an attempt to upgrade the offense with a couple men on base. And then Jim Frey, the Royals manager who was at the helm of the A.L., had Carlton Fisk try and lay down a bunt with runners on first and second and no one out. A sacrifice in an All-Star game by an accomplished hitter like Fisk?

Another curiousity was the fact that at one point Fisk, Rick Burleson, Dewey Evans, and Fred Lynn were all in the game at once, but only Evans was in a Bosox uniform. They had all been Red Sox teammates just a couple years earlier. Why exactly were the Red Sox at that time losing players to everyone else? Didn't they have money back then?

The uniforms, of course, were great. The Pirates guys had bright yellow pants and shirts. Vida Blue, with his great high leg kick, had on a black-and-orange Giants' get up. Bo Diaz was the Indians' only All Star. The fans raggedly dressed as a whole, typical I guess of Indians fans in the early 1980s. The field was atrocious, as a "football game had been played there the night before." The strike clearly brought that into play, but as the game took place in early August, couldn't we have moved what was obviously a preseason football game?

Also, Joe Garriagiola and Tony Kubek were announcing the game. One of them said they were talking to Gabe Paul, who must have been in his second stint as Cleveland's GM at the time, and Paul had described the city of Cleveland as "a sleeping giant" when it comes to baseball. Meaning that if they built a winner, the fans would turn out in droves. They then extolled the virtue of the '81 team, which was playing .500 ball (but I'm assuming eventually crashed and burned). Paul, however, did prove a bit of a visionary, because when Cleveland did finally get a winner in 1990s- and build a new park, I should add,they sold out like 900 consecutive games.

One comment that did not prove visionary, was Garrigiola's comparing the Dodgers youngster, Pedro Guerrero, (or maybe it was Kubek who did this) to a young Willie Mays... If it was Kubek, he did redeem himself a bit with his praise for the "unknown" Ozzie Smith, who came in late in the game in a Padres uniform to play shortstop. True to form, Ozzie made a slick play on a charateristically bad throw from the great Steve Garvey, in a attempt to turn a double play. Slick fielding Manny Trillo and Buddy Bell also had "Web gems."

Oh yes, Mike Schmidt, who was playing late into the game despite starting - that's how the N.L. won 19 out of 20 games when I was kid - hit the game-winning home run in the 8th off the handlebar-mustachioed Rollie Fingers. I've heard Schmidt's Phillies teammate at the time, Pete Rose, given credit as the leader of those N.L. teams, and he was there, deep batting crouch. LA Times sportwriter Jim Murray was given credit for saying Rose would not die of old age, but "prolonged boyhood." This was one of those comments that seems like a compliment at the time, but proves to be a bit tragically prophetic. Poor Pete Rose, Jr. was shown working as an honorary batboy. He, of course, later spent time with the Erie Orioles, and after a long and undistinguished minor league career left baseball in a steroid dealing scandal.

Other great '70s-'80s crouches were on display from batting champs George Brett and Rod Carew. For some reason, Ricky Henderson doesn't seem to have been in the game, bypassed in favor of teammate Tony Armas. Well, I guess not everything is perfect...