Saturday, May 08, 2004

My Car

I don’t know what to do with my car.
My car is a 1992 mint condition Honda Accord (the last year they were made in Japan). It has a shade over 90,000 miles on it. It is in great condition. I do not drive it anymore. As the bumper sticker says, “My other car is a Lexus.” Neither my wife nor daughter will be caught dead in my Honda.
In 1992, my father bought me the car. My wife and I had about three nickels to rub together and my dad bought me the car. He had bough my wife a new Camry just a few months before. My dad did not have much money, but he bought us both new cars. We had moved to Arizona in 1989 from Seattle and neither of our cars had air conditioning. We were in process of adopting our daughter and my father said that no granddaughter of his was going to be driving around in a car without air-conditioning. By the way, my father gave us the money for the adoption. No one else cared the way he did.
My dad died in 1993. He never lived to see me become a financial success, but I owe it to him. Not all to him, but a lot. Every day I live to make him proud. Funny to say this since tomorrow is Mother’s Day. I miss my mom too, but my dad made me what I am today.
Now you know why I cannot get rid of the car.

Things I Love: Radio

I love radio. Always have, always will.
If there had been something along the lines of Internet radio when I was a kid, I would have flunked out of school. Well, that's an overstatement; my mother would never have allowed that to happen. I used to spend my evenings as a kid listening to radio stations from all over the country: WLS, Chicago; WBZ, Boston; WBT, Charlotte and especially KMOX, St. Louis. KMOX was the radio voice of the St. Louis Blues, arch enemy of my beloved Philadelphia Flyers ("Shot and a goal" was the signature of late Blues announcer Dan Kelly.) . I remember the night "Red" Berenson scored six goals against the Flyers. Just as a side note: the Flyers' first year, hockey was so new the team did not have a full-time radio station. One of the Philadelphia stations broadcast only the third period of home games. I think it might have been WPEN. This was circa 1967. Speaking of announcers, Gene Hart, the Flyers' announcer who died in 1999, was no slouch. I have (somewhere in my garage) a record album (yes, vinyl) called "God Bless The Flyers." It was a tribute to the team's Stanley Cup victory in the early '70s.
Alas, the point. I now listen to radio stations all over the world via the 'Net and play the sound through my stereo. I stream it via a cool product from RCA called Lyra Wireless. In time, we'll all be streaming radio, music and movies/TV from the 'Net to our TVs and stereos.. but that's another posting.
My most favorite radio station? Capital FM from London. Check it out.

All Downhill After Vinny/Todd

Has Steve Martin made a funny movie since 'My Blue Heaven?"
And with Kevin Kline...? Wow. Inspired casting. Will there be enough scenery for everyone to chew on?

Yahoo! News - Steve Martin to Be the New Inspector Clouseau


Today's word. In short, it's why your search engine generally gives you such lousy results.
I'll explain some other time...

Friday, May 07, 2004

The Ultimate What If?

A while back, I told asked my buddy Mike whether he thought live coverage on CNN of the Vietnam War would have saved lives? What about live pictures from The Front of any war? Erich Maria Remarque would be proud.

One of the cool things about mob journalism/moblogs is how it will bring live events to the world in Internet time. Maybe I'm nuts and what we'll wind up with (via the explosion in cameraphones) is more porn and a reality show called "America's Best Candid Cell Phone Pictures." But then again, if one cool new picture emerges that saves a life or reveals a hidden truth, it will all be worth it.

Yahoo! News - Digital Cameras Change Perception of War

Overhaulin Needs Overhaulin

I watched the debut episode of Overhauiln--the TLC show that rips off MTV's "Pimp My Ride." It's bad. Essentially, it's like all the other TLC makeover shows, substituting cars for sloppy homes. Thumbs down!

From Philadelphia to Kansas City To Oakland To .......

Last night, on “Baseball Tonight,” Jeff Brantley and Harold Reynolds made a great point about the Oakland A’s. The point was that Oakland management has hidden behind the fact that they are a ‘small market team” as the reason they have refused to pony up for high-priced free agents and resigning superstars such as Jason Giambi. The point made was that they are NOT a small market team and that there are 7 million people in the Bay Area who could attend A’s games. A crummy stadium and management’s unwillingness to spend money is the big reason fans stay away in droves. Adding players such as Scott Hatteberg and Damien Miller will only get you so far.

At the same time, the Yankees were playing the A’s and Ken Singleton pointed out that the A’s still employ the Billy Beane concept of coming to the plate with a lot of patience. While the A’s are second in the number of pitches per at/bat, they are among the lowest in batting average and on base percentage. Unless the A’s change their vision, you can count on some of their young pitching talent leaving the team

Thursday, May 06, 2004

I know I Should Resist

But here is what I see ahead for the stars of "Friends":

David Schwimmer: Understudy for the role of Leo Bloom in "Producers." (A CYE reference)
Jennifer Anniston: Divorced from the Pitt, she goes back to hawking diet drinks.
Courtney Cox: Returns to her promising career as a bit player in music videos.
Lisa Kudrow: Makes another movie with John Travolta and then retires to be a cocktail hostess in The Poconos.
Matt LeBlanc: Takes acting lessons... Finally.
Matthew Perry: Lives off the royalties from his father's commercials. Most recently, the senior Perry is featured in a Bayer commercial in which his life is saved by swallowing an aspirin while in the midst of a heart attack.

Did I leave anyone out?

Bad Cubs Karma

It's clear to me that the Cubs are not going to win the NL Central. It's the Astros' year. The story for the Astros plays out too well with the addition of hometown heroes Andy Pettite and Roger Clemens, plus the 'stros have a much better base of young talent along with great veteran leadership.

With the injury to Cubs SS Alex Gonzalez, that makes four starters on the DL: Prior, Remlinger Grudzielanek already are riding the medical bench. Ramon Martinez, another of Dusty's guys, is a capable short-term fill-in, but somewhere in the Cubs front office they are kicking themselves over giving away Bobby Hill.

Barring a second-half collapse by Houston, it's their year. Don't rule out St. Louis although their pitching appears horrid and Albert Pujols is not on track quite yet.

Trivia Question for 2010

Was was Jennifer Anison? (Misspelling intentional)

Yahoo! News - Aniston Among Olympic Torch Bearers

Say Goodnight, Schwimmer

My local paper suggests a number of things do to instead of watching the series finale of “Friends.” I could be sarcastic and say, well that would include just about anything.

I have never watched an episode of “Friends” broadcasted live on NBC, but have seen one or two during some desperate in-flight entertainment programs during some awful, long plane trips. I think I get the premise but sure don’t understand it very well. But then again, I am not the target audience.

In my day as a TV critic, I reviewed countless shows. Perhaps that’s left me somewhat OD-ed on TV sitcoms. The few I watch are never watch live; they are fodder for my morning workout on my exercise bike (planted in front of my cable-DVR box). “Friends” is not among the programs suitable for 30 minuets of high-speed peddling. “Sopranos,’ without question the best show on TV, is the best biking show. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is good, but there’s sometimes too much
“low talking” that cannot be heard over the bike’s fan mechanism. I have a bunch of “Law and Orders” saved up to try as biking distraction.

One TV industry question—can the viewership for the final “Friends” ever be accurate when so many people will “Tivo” it for later viewing? As I used to work for the company that does TV ratings, I’ll leave that alone.

A Reporter's Worst Nightmare

Back in 1978, I had been a reporter for something like two weeks. I was sent to cover some community dispute over a neighbor who collected junk in his yard and had something like 100 cats (I exaggerate to make a point). I wrote it from the perspective of the complaint I had heard in at town meeting and did ask to speak with the man in question. He refused to comment.

The day after the story ran, two lawyers called and threatened to sue. I had somehow invaded someone’s privacy and ran the story without the junk man/pet nut’s side of things, I put him in a very bad light and without an apology or retraction, “they” threatened to sue the paper. BTW, the neighbors who made the original complaint suddenly fell mute.

I vividly recall calling my parents and asking them if I could come home to live because I was going to be fired. My dad laughed and said everything would be fine. He was right.

But then there’s the story about the restaurant review I wrote that nearly got me fired… that’s for another day.

Yahoo! News - Stench Leads to 200 Animals in Apartment

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Life and The 1964 Phillies

I could write an entire book of my own on the 1964 Phillies. I just received a new book on the collapse of the 1964 Phillies, “September Swoon: Richie Alllen, The ’64 Phillies and Racial Integration.” The book is written by William C. Kashatus and goes into detail about the troubled times of the Philadelphia baseball franchise in 1964. Not only did the Phillies tank in an effort to win the National League pennant (pre playoffs), but also it was a summer of hatred and racial unrest in major urban cities such as Newark and Philadelphia.

That summer, my dad took me to about 20 games and we rode the 54 bus up Lehigh Avenue to Connie Mack Stadium. There were mounted police on every corner and the tension was as thick as the hot, humid summer nights. I remember the baseball aspects of that summer more than the riots. I remember McCovey, Mays, Curt Flood, Jim Ray Hart, Ernie Banks and Joe Torre (who was a heck of a player). Your memory generally fixates on the positive aspects of any relationship.

My friend and former colleague Bruce Orwall (now a big shot at the WSJ) said the Phillies 1964 collapse defined me for life. So did one of my former editors, Dave Peters. Not sure about the entire inference from that statement, but it does not sound too flattering. More than anything, not making the World Series in 1964 defined the Philadelphia sports fan as an eternal loser. As a former sports talk producer who screened hundreds of calls, I cannot argue against that point.

I think about the 1964 Phillies as I am two months from my first visit to the new Citizens Bank Park. I had hoped to go to Opening Day so I could boast I was at the opening of the Vet (April 1971) and the opening of CBP. July will have to do. Maybe Richie Allen will be there writing the words "Coke" and "Boo" in the dirt by first base? You never know. Makes me miss my dad.

Where Are The Electric Toilet Seats?

Check out the link underneath to see the assortment of oddball vending machines in Japan. My first visit was 1995, and I was blown away by all the soft drink vending machines with some having as many as 10 different types of tea drinks.

Still nothing eclipses Tokyo's electronic toilet seats. Some have built-in heaters, others have music (not what you're thinking) and some have self-cleaning capabilities for the older and infirmed. Japan is big on being caring and courteous to its elderly. Where have we gone wrong?

PhotoMann Travel Photgraphy - Images of Japanese Vending Machines

Put My New Corvette On Hold

If this is true for me, I am not even middle-aged yet.

Yahoo! News - Belarus Woman Celebrates 116th Birthday

Suzuki Has A Gun

Last night, I watched as Ichiro gunned down Minnesota Twins Corey Koskie at home plate with two outs in the top of the ninth. Mind you, he was safe (as the replays showed), but that’s not the point. This 5 foot 9-inch outfielder fired a bullet from right field on the fly and nailed Koskie at home plate. I actually have seen Ichiro throw even better as he gunned out someone going from first to third in a Spring Training game a few years ago.

Ichiro does not have the best arm I have ever seen. For a guy his size, however, it’s amazing. Since I went to my first baseball game in 1959 (Connie Mack Stadium, Phillies Vs. Milwaukee Braves, Henry Aaron hit a home run), I have seen some great arms. Among the best: Aaron, Robert Clemente, Johnny Callison (No. 6 in your Phillies program), Ellis Valentine, Dave Parker, Dave Winfield, Vlad Guerrero, Sixto Lezcano (not really, but I love his name) and Willie Stargell (he started as an outfielder before moving to first base).

Some more will come to mind, but that’s a look at the elite.

By the way, Seattle beat the Twins in 16 innings. The Twins were robbed; Koskie was safe.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

A Possible Marvin Benard Sighting

Marvin Benard, former SF Giants outfielder, was one of Dusty Baker's favorites. As much as I think Dusty is the second coming, I never understood his affection for Marvin. Benard did hit 16 home runs one year, and would run through a fence for a fly ball, but he lacked the polish and overall baseball sense that separates journeyman from player.

Benard, who was released by the Giants earlier this year as part of the BALC steroid mess, had a quick spin with the Chisox and was then released on March 10th. The 33 year-older must feel he has some life left in his career, so he's joined the Independent League Atlantic City Surf. Since having a few drug blots on your folio doesn't matter much to baseball GMs, he could make the ideal late season addition to a contending team in need of a bat or a player with a great right jab. Marvin was always the first one off the bench during a fight.

I vow to get a picture of Marvin in his new Surf surroundings in mid-July when my wife and I visit The Sandscatle. Hopefully, he'll still be on the team.

BTW, I agree with Rob Dibble's comments on ESPN's Baseball Tongight regarding another Giants outfielder--Jeffrey Hammonds. Hammonds is a bum. Back in the '60s, he'd be a AAA player at best. But that's a topic for another time.

It's Why Network TV Is In Trouble

So, in the next few years, you will download programs from your PC and then wirelessly stream them to your TV. No, make that your TVs or portable viewing devices. Or you might be a content forager and grab programs while you go about your business. Perhaps download a sponsored episode of something while at your Wi-Fi enabled coffee shop.

Did the TV networks actually think their 50-year-old model of delivering mindless new programs at fixed internals throughout the year would last? Consumers have just been waiting for the technology to move to allow them to be in charge of the viewing experience.

Mariano Rivera is not quite ready to come in and end the game; we're in the seventh inning and the set-up guy is in. Rivera is warming up in the 'pen.

Comcast and Linksys Make Sharing a High-Speed Internet Connection Easier

Digital Newspapers: Take Note

It’s a tough proposition getting your newspaper to compete with other media online. Don’t I know it. But when considering the options of ad-based revenue, subscription revenue or registration-based models, please consider the occasional user. Yesterday, I was looking for an obituary on the site of a newspaper I had never visited nor am I likely to visit any time soon. To access the obit, the site told me I had to subscribe to the paper (of little value as I live 2,000 miles away) or buy an online subscription. Not a well thought out plan.

Certain sections that have periodic value to visitors need to be kept free. Yes, I understand the technological challenges of walling off certain sections to be free vs. paid areas. The goodwill is worth the investment.

Because The Internet Was Not For Sale

Now Gore claims he invented cable TV. Actually, it was an appliance store owner in Nesquehoning, PA. I met him in 1979; he was a humble man who knew he captured lightning in a bottle.

Yahoo! News - Gore to Buy NewsWorld Cable

No Worries, Mate

Yahoo! News - Airline Passenger Finds Frog in Her Salad

Monday, May 03, 2004

Your Heard It Here...

Within a few years, Wi Fi will be a commodity and be given away by restaurants, hotels, airlines, shopping malls, doctor's offices and hair salons. I read somewhere last week that hotels are thinking of free Wi Fi as an amenity for guests.

PRESS RELEASE: FreeFi to Launch First Wi-Fi Ad Network

Understatements I Love

Not a lot of thought needs to go into this one:

Olsen Twins: Not So Pretty In HDTV

Pat Tillman and Pizza

ESPN is showing the memorial to Pat Tillman. Jake Plummer, a former Cardinals and ASU teammate spoke eloquently as did Pat's brother in law. They never showed the venue for the memorial. Given the foliage, it was not Arizona. I am not sure it was Arlington because it generally takes quite a while to get a date scheduled for a memorial.

So, to counterbalance the sadness of the day--Pat Tillman and the death of my colleague's husband--I began to recount my favorite pizza places. Not sure of the connection, but it works for me.

My favorites:

Los Inmortales-- No 1. It's in Buenos Aires.
John's in New York. It's the one in an old church.
Amici's in San Francisco/Marin County
and... Patsy Grimaldi's here in Scottsdale. It's the same one as in New York. Really.

I have not been to the famous New Haven pizza joints (Sally's and Pepe's) but know I'd love them.

Imitation = Flattery?

What do MTV and Discovery Network's TLC have in common? Certainly not a lot of "duplicated" audience (as we said in the Web measurement business).

MTV's "Pimp My Ride," starring Xzibit (X to the Z, says my inner gangsta) is a great show and pop culture icon in which the famous rapper shows up at someone's door to overhaul his/her beater automobile. The folks at West Coast Customs turn old Mustangs and Firebirds into over-the-top rides.

TLC is launching Overhaulin', a show with the same concept. Well ,the same show minus the cool rapper at the helm. We'll see about this.

Things I Hate The Most

I am taking off May 2005. The entire month.

Last year, in May 2003, my business partner and friend lost his brother in Iraq in a senseless car accident. His brother was a career soldier and the light of his family's eyes. It was a devastating loss. I had only met his brother once and he had a glow about him that acted as the central, unifying force for this large, dispersed family.

Today, my boss called to tell me that the husband of one of my colleagues had died in a car accident over the weekend. The man was 49 and leaves behind a wife and two children. I know no other details. I need not know any more. At my company, we have lost one of our family. Because our company stresses work situations that fit our lifestyles, a significant number of us are dispersed across the country. I am in Arizona; my colleague whose husband died is in Iowa. My boss is in Colorado. I met my colleague for this first time in January at a company offsite. Meeting her was a highlight of the offsite as we learned that we share common values in love of family. My heart aches beyond belief for her loss.

Four years ago, my wife, daughter and I faced a family crisis in that my wife was battling breast cancer. Luckily, it was detected early. Luckily, she was treated at one of the top cancer centers in the country. Her surgeon is one of G-d's angels on earth and combines passion, energy, brilliance and determination. She knows she cannot win them all. She wins far more than she loses. She is worth the three hour wait to see her at her office.

At that time, the outpouring of love and support from many work colleagues and neighbors was overwhelming. I hope and pray I can pass that energy on to my colleague during her family's time of need.

Yes. This is what I hate the most.

To The List of Things I Don't Get

I don't get the appeal of Frasier. But then again, I don't get the appeal of Friends. A note about Friends, though. With every season available on DVD, the syndication rights must be a few cents on the dollar.

To me Kelsey Grammer will always be Sideshow Bob.

Variety.com - Inside Move: Pushing 'Frasier' further

Rangers: No Surprise Here

I have seen many of the young Rangers stars blossom in the Arizona Fall League over the past few seasons. Blalock, Teixara and Nix, to name a few. Also saw the Rangers in Spring Training in Surprise, AZ, in March, and Soriano looked like a better fit than A-Rod. Soriano cannot field a lick, but he gets on base and goes about his business in a quiet way--must have been from his experience playing in Japan.

At this point, the Rangers are better than Seattle and maybe the A's. The A's gave some good talent in AAA Sacramento and AA Midland, Texas, plus Rich Harden will be a stud by mid-season.

ESPN.com: Page 2 - Take a closer look at Texas

I'd Like To See This Film... NOW!

My buddy (and co-worker) Mike told me that Roger Ebert mentioned this on this past weekend's review show. The next step for such sites is to offer copies of those films for view after the festival is over. A Web Portal in conjunction with the festival's sponsors could easily act as an intermediary to sell per-view passes to the films. They can be streamed (less likely) or downloaded (more likely).

Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Love These Guys.. Whatever They Are

Have tons of these cacti in our neighborhood. The picture does not do them justice.

Gotta Love Rickey

I saw Rickey Henderson on a Southwest flight a month ago from Phoenix to San Diego. I suspect he was going to the opening of Petco Park; after all, he was a former Padre. Rickey was the last one on the plane and darted on wearing shorts, sandals and sunglasses. He looked fit.

I won't be seeing Rickey this season, but my wife and I are going to an Atlantic City Surf game (also in the Atlantic League) in mid-July. The Sandcastle, the home of the Surf, looks cool.

ESPN.com - MLB - Rickey Henderson re-signs with Newark Bears

Another Thing I Love

Art. I love art. My wife and I are collectors. We have a strange assortment of things (many just laying around, not hung) from Markus Pierson to Chagall. Two favorites:

Van Dyke Jones--Creator of Rex, a transcendental dog-like creature
Royal Nebeker--An artist whose work we first saw at the White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

If Only The Folks at Webvan Knew This

Remember those Webvan logo-ed cupholders at the seats at the opning of Pac Bell Park?

Yahoo! News - Study: Shoppers Deserting Supermarkets

Fred Garvin Will Be There

I am debating as to whether to include the new Quad Cities baseball team in my tour of new baseball parks. Apparently, the Quad Cities team (Minnesota Twins affiliate) changed names from River Bandits to "Swing of the Quad Cities." In addition, there as a massive renovation of the stadium. Enough to call it a new ballpark? Difficult to say as I have never been to the old park. I have never been to the Quad Cities. Check that--I may have driven through it in April 1980 on my way from Philadelphia to Seattle.

I have no idea about the "Swing" reference. Could it be like the Jazz whose name transferred when the team from New Orleans to Utah? Or the Hornets when they moved from Charlotte to New Orleans. Seems like a swap is in order--New Orleans reclaims Jazz and Utah becomes the Hornets. There are hornets everywhere; there is jazz in New Orleans. I guess there is jazz everywhere, but that's another posting.

Lastly, the Fred Garvin reference. I have not watched "Saturday Night Live" regularly in more than 20 years. In its day, Dan Aykroyd once played a character named Fred Garvin in a skit, "Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute." He worked the Quad Cities as a male strumpet and was sent to Margot Kidder's room for a night of pleasure. It didn't pan out as he had trouble removing his back brace. It was funnier than it sounds. My buddies and I at my first newspaper job laughed about it for weeks. Fred Garvin was later usurped by Month Python's "Spam."

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Blogarama - The Blog Directory Subscribe with Bloglines Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Subscribe to this feed through My Yahoo: This is my new blogchalk:
United States, Arizona, Scottsdale, English. :)