Saturday, June 26, 2004

Cheap Seats On ESPN Classic

Even in the 500-channel universe, every once in a while you stumble on a gem. Early this evening, I happened upon “Cheap Seats” on ESPN Classic. It’s strange as all get out, but amazingly funny and entertaining. It’s one of those sports-meet pop culture shows with arcane references to movies, politics and so on.

The show is “Mystery Science Theater 3000” with a little Siskel and Ebert tossed in for good measure. These two guys, Randy and Jason, who work in a tape room wind up hosting a sports show that resembles Wayne Campbell’s basement in “Wayne’s World.” Come to think of it, there is a “WW” flavor here as well. I am not sure how many episodes they taped, but there are two shows they are playing continuously today.

Now this is Must See TV.

A Moment For Once In A Lifetime

Well, I am a week late for Father’ Day with this, but here is a moment that comes once in a lifetime. After returning home from abroad with our newly adopted daughter, my father met us at the airport to see this gift. He was not well at the time. In fact, he lived for less than a year after this picture.

There is no long story needed here only to say that my father gave us the money we needed for the adoption. He did not have much, but he gave us whatever we needed. Little more can be said.

Pool Dude

One of the reasons I bought a scanner was to post about the sabbatical my wife and I took in 1985. We traveled from January through early April of that year. I have a lot of pictures from the trip, which took us throughout South American by train, bus and plane.

A memorable stop was in a place called Camboriu, a beach town in southern Brazil. I am not sure many Americans have ever been there. There is no comparison in the U.S. other than maybe parts of the Jersey Shore or Florida. It is a favorite vacation spot for people from Uruguay and Argentina. We were there a week before heading up to Rio for Carnival. Yes, I have pictures of Carnival!

Anyway, we stayed at a nice hotel and the man who was the pool assistant was in charge of beach chairs and beach accessories. He did not speak English and we did not speak Portuguese, but we communicated well nonetheless. We referred to him then and now as “the pool dude.” He was typical of the people we met all over South America—warm, gracious and generous.

Airports I Love

The other day, my wife and I were talking about our favorite airports. We decided we liked airports that were open-aired, which is common in the Caribbean, South America and Asia. We singled out two: Fortaleza, Brazil and Ko Samui (see above).

I don’t remembered Fortaleza much as I was sick when we landed. A long story for another day. I do remember two things: one is the great cashews that are sold on the street in little bags and are unlike any cashews you’ve ever tasted. The other thing is the fact that someone stopped me on Avienda President Kennedy and swore I was John Lennon. I used to be a dead ringer; since Lennon never lived to 50, it’s difficult to say how we’d compare today.

Ko Samui’s was cool in that they take you via shuttle cars from the plane to the “terminal.” Ko Samui is a beach area south of Bangkok and is less known than its Thai counterpart Phuket. We’ve been to both and Phuket is more luxurious with more to do. Ko Samui is more laid back and a haven for backpackers who come for the Full Moon Festival. My wife believes the full moon is a time when I am generally unhealthy. Hard to disagree.

Van Dyke Jones

Sometime in the early ‘90s, my wife and I wandered into a gallery in LaJolla off the main drag. At that time, LaJolla had a ton of innovative art galleries; I’d say that’s not so true today. We found a very strange drawing that featured a strange, cosmic character named Rex. Rex may be a dog or he may be a coyote. He may be an odd hybrid. No matter. We bought the picture although we could not afford it.

Over the subsequent years, we became Rex collectors. We own a trade paperback book or Rex pictures. Many we have in originals, some in serigraphs, and some as drawings. Most are unframed. We love Rex. People look at the pictures and they elicit one of two reactions: some people outright laugh while others pause and reflect.

As obsessed Rex fans, we found Van Dyke Jones’ new home gallery—Windsor Betts--based in New Mexico. In December 1999, I called to find out what he was doing. The woman at the gallery gave me great details and then told me she was his ex-wife. Did I want to speak with him, she asked. As a devoted fan, I jumped at the chance, but actually was nervous.

We spoke a few times. He enjoyed my view of Rex as a metaphysical character who took an honest, direct, unfettered view of life. Still, Rex was daring and mischievous. Rex was always looking at ways of staying on the good side of his wife, Polly. Rex had some odd friends—a snake, a few birds and some other creatures. Often, they led him into trouble. Anyway, Jones asked me if I wanted to buy some things directly from him (cutting out the middleman). We bough about a dozen assorted items including some of his new work—pears (see above). Not sure what the pears mean, but they sure look like a woman’s rear end to me. Probably also to Van Dyke Jones.

We remain devoted fans. I owe him a call.

New Toy

Well, I have a new toy, an Epson photo scanner. I figured I have so many pictures (35mm prints), ticket stubs, menus and other odd, assorted items, I must have a scanner to appropriately blog them.

For starters, here is a picture, circa 1998, of me in Israel in front of the Old City. I had a goatee--don’t ask me why.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Music For The Pool

Here's what we'll be listening to in the pool tonight. Many thanks to my RCA Lyra which streams Real Rhapsody to my home stereo which in turns feeds my new, gigantic outdoor speakers. My neighbors have not complained ... yet.


Baseball Excursion In The Works

The last weekend of August, I am headed off to parts unknown for a baseball weekend. My wife and daughter are headed to a family function in the Pacific Northwest, and I am opting out. Everyone involved will have a better weekend in this scenario.

Among the possible destinations are Anaheim, Toronto, Cleveland, Texas, Oakland, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago (Cubs), Montreal, Pittsburgh, Florida (Miami) and Cincinnati. Toronto is out as is Montreal, Florida and Boston. The Cubs would be ideal, as they play Houston (plus I can get there on a non-stop flight) but tickets will be difficult to get.

Pittsburgh would also be fun as I have never been to PNC Park and I can get there on a non-stop flight. I don’t like Fenway (sacrilege) because it’s an old dump. Cincinnati is intriguing, as is Anaheim. Oddly, it’s expensive to fly into John Wayne (Orange County) Airport. You can fly to Ontario (Calif.) for a song and just rent a car, but the traffic is horrific.

I am working on my invite list. My buddy TS., who is a core invitee, says we should go to Japan for a game. He was there last year in the baseball tour. I do want to go, but my wife sure would enjoy that trip.

The Big O, Bob Gibson and Johnny Callison

I'll bet neither Gibson nor Oscar Robertson or Johnny Callison ever made more than $25,000 a year in their prime.

Yahoo! Finance Special Edition: Top 50 Athletes

MLB Families

Aside from the four Boones (Ray, Bret, Bob and Aaron), I can only think of one other baseball family with four family members who played in the majors--The Alous (Matty, Felipe, Jesus and Moises).

ESPN.com - MLB - Aaron Boone has tentative deal to join Indians

Holding My Breath

This is a nervous morning. My wife is having her regular CT-scan as a routine part of her post-cancer exams. It’s been more than four years, but you still sweat each of these events. I am thinking good thoughts.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Cut Me A Break!

We'll be seeing this the day our daughter leaves for camp.

Yahoo! News - Group Asks FEC About 'Fahrenheit' Ads

Who Needs The Icebox?

I have been wondering, for a few years, how those creams and half- &-halfs that you find in the in-room coffee set-up can sit out all day and not be toxic. I have seen milk in cartons on shelves in Brazil and Paraguay, but never stopped to wonder how it didn’t cause an outbreak of something or other.

Inspired from my recent trip where there was half- &-half in the in-room coffee bar, I found my answer—it’s called aseptic packaging.

Aspetic packagers even have their own council. Live and learn.


I don’t play golf, but wish I did. After people find out that I live in Arizona, the first question is, “Do you play golf?” I reply in the negative despite the fact I live near some of the nation’s finest courses—TPC, Greyhawk, Troon, etc. I last played golf in 1978 at Neville Country Club in the Catskills. A story for another day.

I do not play golf for two reasons: I have a bum right shoulder—an injury sustained in a bike accident when I swerved out of the way of a postal delivery truck and landed shoulder first on the pavement. Also, I cannot walk more than 20 or 30 feet without discomfort. Again, a story for another day.

I could get a motorcart (like Larry David uses in CYE) to traverse the course like Casey Martin. That does not solve my shoulder problem. I could revert to pitch and putt courses, which don’t require an excessive tee shot, or I could just stick to miniature golf. How manly does that sound?

Well, sometime I will resolve these issues. I could schedule a deep massage on my shoulder to loosen up the muscles and then head right for the course. If I broke 150, it would be a moral victory. If I did this, I could wear one of those cool golf shirts that my wife says are verboten except for golfers. I think she’s kidding.

For Anyone Who Likes TV

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Thou-Shalt-See TV

Just Imagine If The Giants Had A Real Closer?

Or if they pitched to Bonds?


Wednesday, June 23, 2004


I am definitely not what you would call an animal lover. I hate going to zoos and always have. This goes against the grain of my family—they like zoos. I did enjoy the Wildlife Park outside of San Diego, but that was because we saw the animals in their natural habitat, up close and personal.

I am fascinated by zebras because of the fact that they look somewhat peaceful, but generally are unruly. The guide told us many zebras are sent to solitary confinement (yes, he called it that) because of bad behavior. What’s more interesting about zebras is the fact that no two have the same striped pattern. Each pattern is like a separate DNA. I think I recall the guide saying the mother can remember the pattern of each of her offspring.

I have a few stuffed zebra animals my wife and daughter have bought for me to take on my travels for good luck and to remind me of home. Steve, the traveling mini monkey who fits nicely in my messenger bag, has recently supplanted them. Steve is the son of another mini monkey, Ken. Don’t ask about the names, as there is a method to the naming madness. There are a few people who would be offended if they knew.

Slasher: Check Your Local Listings

Now showing on IFC (Independent Film Channel). Just finished the first 30 minutes. It's not "Animal House" or "Coming to America," but intriguing nonetheless.


Yahoo! News - New York to Revive Subway Beauty Contests

If you really want to see some beauties, you need to ride the subways in either Paris or Montreal.

Yahoo! News - New York to Revive Subway Beauty Contests

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Leaving Seattle

I had a great day business-wise. Long day, but great meetings. Can’t really say much of what went on, but lots of stimulating discussion.

Sea-Tac is not among my favorite airports. It is superficially modernized, unlike, say SFO’s International gates, which are very modern. Or Denver. Or Pittsburgh. Or Hong Kong…. The food choices here really suck (at least in the C Terminal). I seem to remember better food out at the infamous “N” gates where United flies. I am on Alaska because I did not want to risk missing a connection and adding a few hours via SFO.

I am hoping to either doze or watch “8 Mile” which I downloaded from Real Network’s new Starz service. I will be hot and tired when I get home ‘round midnight (as the song goes). Such is the price of my work, but as my dad would have said, “It beats walking the streets.”

Hotel Recommendation

This is where I stayed for my short trip to Seattle/Kirkland. One small issue: nice health club, but it's in an "attached" building through the parking garage.

Small nit to pick.

Love the coffee in the lobby in the early AM. Gracioius service. I'll be back--maybe even on my own dime.

The Woodmark Hotel on Lake Washington; Kirkland Washington USA; Home Page

Monday, June 21, 2004

Business Travel Made Easier

As much as I dread business travel, would could be easier than to take a limo to the airport, be picked up by a limo at the other end and then driven to dinner by limo. Toss in a nice aisle seat in the exit row, and you’re in a relatively stress free travel day.

It is odd being here. My wife’s family all lives nearby my amazing hotel, which is neatly perched on Lake Washington. I have no time to call her family, but even if I did, I am not sure what I could or would say. Better leave well enough alone.

Anyway, tomorrow is a long day, ending with a flight that is scheduled to arrive home at 11 p.m. Ugh.

Seattle Briefly Beckons

Things I liked about Seattle but won’t have time to see in my one-day trip:

Great views of Mount Rainier from I-5. My sense is the weather will suck and I won’t see the mountain through the mist.
The original Starbucks in Pike Place Market. I used to work across the street in a large office building; at that time (1992), Starbucks was nothing special.
My friend Mark Thomas. Long story. No time now.
Pike Place Market. Doesn’t matter since crab is out of season.
Queen Anne Bakery. Won’t be near it, plus I think it’s out of business.
The Cinerama Theater. It’s downtown and totally redone. My wife and I saw “Murphy’s Romance’ there in 1993.
My wife. She’ll be home in Phoenix. Clearly, meeting her between the raindrops was the top moment during my nine year sentence in the Pacific Northwest.

No Bottom In Sight

Traditional radio is hurting. A shakeup is in the wind. Satellite and Internet radio will ding traditional radio.

Yahoo! News - Ad glut rocks radio

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Great Day Comes To a Close

Father’s Day 2004 is coming to a close. It’s been a great one. My daughter bought me a movie card for one of the local chains. It will be just enough for us all to go to a movie next weekend. My wife wants to see “Terminal,” my daughter wants to see “Dodgeball” again, and I want to see “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

I am off to Seattle tomorrow afternoon. Again, a place with a lot of personal history. In 1980, I moved there from Pennsylvania and lived there until 1989 when my wife and I moved to Phoenix. When I first moved to Seattle, it was a small town with little traffic and plenty of parking. I went to a lot of Seattle Sounders games (soccer/football). I lived in some interesting neighborhoods (Queen Anne, Ballard, etc..) and even owned a business that could have made us multi-millionaires.

I won’t be thinking of any of that tomorrow and Tuesday. I’ll be on the “Eastside,” which is the area the other side of Lake Washington. I’ll be too busy to rehash old memories and visit some of my favorite places such as Pike Place Market. I am anxious to go to Shiro’s, a sushi restaurant owned by a sushi master who ran Nikko--the best sushi restaurant in history. Maybe some other time.

No photos on this trip.

Dad's Day At The Game

What more could a father ask for Father’s Day—a day at the game with his two favorite people. Since Bank One Ballpark (soon to be renamed with Chase somewhere in the title) allows you to bring food in with some reason, we brought Subway ® sandwiches. Not my favorite, but the place we’d normally go is in the middle of a serious traffic detour, we took the easy route.

The difference between going to SBC Park and BOB is that it cost $20 to park a mile from SBC and $10 to park next to BOB. As you walk up to BOB, it looks like a gigantic warehouse converted into a baseball park (see below).

While it’s not SBC, inside, it’s actually nice and very fan friendly. The aisles are wide, there are tons of bathrooms and the scoreboard (see below) is state of the art. It was too hot to open the retractable roof. I think it was something like 109 degrees—a tad toasty.

The big give-away was a radio for all dads. The radio was a strange contraption (see below) in that it is hardwired to received only KTAR, the all-news and sports station that is the flagship for the Diamondbacks, Suns and Sun Devils. It has no true volume control, having only an on/off mode, high and low volume.

As for the game, the D-backs stink. They lost to the D-rays 2-1, and my heart goes out to Brandon Webb, the D-backs talented young right-handed pitcher who gets no run support. He had one short lapse where he gave up a few rockets, and his fate was sealed. The D-backs had men on first and third with no outs in the eighth. Finley struck out and Bautista followed by hitting into a doubleplay. The rest was history.

My next game is the BIG ONE: Phillies vs. Braves in Citizens Bank Park on July 11th.

Well, Father’s Day is in full swing. Dinner and presents await.

A note of sadness: I cannot help but feel an emptiness in the pit of my stomach for my colleague whose husband recently died in a car accident. I can only imagine the sadness in her house as she and her two sons wake up to the worst Father’s Day of their lives. May G-d be with you.

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