Saturday, September 04, 2004

Wandering Fools In Love

I guess what keeps a couple together for 21 years is a love of the same strange things. We’re just back from a strange outing that really captures the odd joy we find together.

As previously mentioned, we were on a mission to find Trader Joe’s pickled snap peas. We found a ton at the TJ’s near our old house. This TJ’s is in the Town & Country Shopping Center at 20th and Camelback. We bought a dozen jars of the peas (see above).

In the same center, we found a cool little store called “The Herb Stop.” The place had a mind-boggling array of herbs—tea, spices, healing herbs, etc… I scored some great white tea and Hawaiian Red Sea Salt. We’ll be back.

From there, we headed to this amazing bakery/gourmet food shop that is at the corner of 40th & Campbell: La Grande Orange. We think we might have seen a Phoenix Sun player in there, but he was only 6-4 or 6-5 given my height. LGA (see above) is something out of Soho in New York or San Francisco: artisan breads, amazing deli good and pizzas that are regarded among the best in Phoenix. La Grande Orange (which, BTW, was the nickname of former Montreal Expos player Rusty Staub) is in the process of opening up a pizzeria at that location.

Last stop was Whole Foods for a quick bite and some fixings for Sunday dinner.

Upon arrival home, a dozen Proflowers roses were waiting for the anniversary girl; the attached card had a really bad typo, and when I checked, I made the typo in the online card. The typo will be a great source of family humor for years to come.

Lastly, we got a lovely gift and card from our daughter. A great day all around and we haven’t even made it to the Wiener Dog Races.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Yet More Fun Hijinx From Germany

Expatica � Living in, moving to, or working in Germany, plus German news in English

Cards, Gifts & Wiener Dogs

Tomorrow is our 21st wedding anniversary. We were recounting all the places we’ve been over the years in celebration: San Francisco, Carmel/Monterey, Scottsdale (when we didn’t live here) and Vancouver, BC This year, we have light plans—card and gift exchange and a tour of the Phoenix-area Trader Joe’s. My wife was informed they are discontinuing our favorite picked snap beans (see below), so we’re on a mission to hit every TJs to stock up. I wonder if they have a long shelf life?

We are going to dinner tonight as our daughter has a babysitting gig. That allows us to do an adult dinner without her. The daughter is not great at restaurants, especially if they are noisy.

Lastly, we are going to some strange Wiener-Dog Races to be held tomorrow at Phoenix Greyhound Park. The races are to raise money for greyhound rescue. We love greyhounds, but we’re on a no-dog edict.

Can't Figure This Out

Why would Hearst be buying a Yellow/White Pages company? I fail to see the connection or opportunity, and, believe me, I have a vivid imagiantion.

White Directory sold to Hearst Corp. - 2004-09-02 - Business First of Buffalo

They Will Ask In Years To Come, "What Was Network TV?"

This headline in today's NY Times:

Faced With Poor Ratings, Networks Soul Search

Sorry, sports fans, the game is over. The TV networks are dead.

And Their First Song Will Be The Devo Classic


Thursday, September 02, 2004

Pitch To Barry

The question is where and when will Barry Bonds be when he sits home run #700. I was sitting in my car outside Whole Foods in Mill Valley (near Jerry’s favorite 7-11) when he hit #600. Seems like yesterday.

And Several Portland Trailblazers Were Nearby

Yahoo! News - Prison Guards Find Basketball Full of Pot

More Baseball For Arizona?

Can hardly wait!

Golden Baseball League

Sad Byproduct Of Fame

This comes as no surprise after reading that Denver Nuggets forward Nene has to have guards protect his parents' home outside of Sao Paulo. The threat of kidnapping looms for the families of many US sports stars from Latin America.

Four men kidnap mother of Detroit Tigers pitcher Ugueth Urbina

No Record For Ichiro

I told TS last weekend that other teams would start walking Ichiro so he won't break George Sisler's all-time hit record. Ichiro needs more than 40 hits to break the record and last night, he was intentionally walked; as a lead-off hitter he won't get many of those, but he also won't get good pitches to hit. If the baseball powers have trouble with an African American breaking the home run record, I'd say they also have a problem with a Japanese player breaking the treasured hit record.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


Saturday will be my wife and my 21st wedding anniversary. We have nothing special planned, but for us, just being together is special enough.

Our life together is filled with amazing times including things a lot of couples talk about but never do; open a business (and declare bankruptcy, losing every dime); taking a three-month sabbatical (and nearly croaking in the process); adopting a child and choosing where you want to live—twice.

I only mention this in that next weekend is Bumbershoot in Seattle. It’s a weekend festival that coincides with Labor Day and includes great musical acts, exhibits, art, etc… I think it started either shortly before or after I moved to Seattle in 1980. I don’t always like the headline acts at Bumbershoot; in fact they only had one headline act I wanted to see in the nine years I lived there. It was Bob Seger, and he performed on Sept. 4, 1983. I was busy that day.

Why Are These Stories Always Datelined Germany?

Yahoo! News - How Would You Like to Meet This Guy?

For Fans Of "The Freshman"

There's a line in the movie "The Freshman" after Clark Kellogg and Steve Barshak deliver the komodo dragon to Larry London when a tiger walks by their car: "A Bengal tiger, ladies and gentleman."

Guess Ted Isn't Working

This is thought provoking for me. I am close to 700,000 lifetime miles on United and easily could hit a million in about five years. If United continues to downscale, I will shop my miles around and see who will match them and take me on as a happy business traveler.

Alaska Airlines has a deal that they will take your “other airline” status for a year. So, I am a MVP on Alaska for the year. That’s convenient to fly to Seattle and other West Coast cities, but it’s not a solution to fly to places such as Chicago, New York, Boston, etc… My choices are American and Delta. Oddly, one reason I stay away from them is that they fly out of congested Terminal 3 at Sky Harbor. United flies out of Terminal 2 in Phoenix and it’s the easiest user-friendly terminal in the airport.

I already am at Premiere status for next year, having flow 26,000 miles so far. I can hit 50,000 (Premiere Executive) if I continue on United and its partners (US Air, Air Canada) for the year. It might be time to switch. I am concerned that United will cut its customer-oriented services to even lower quality standards, and that’s saying something.

Friendly skies? Won’t be so friendly in the near future.

City Of Brotherly Wireless?

Difficult to imagine that my hometown is considering becoming one giant hotspot. It's also difficult to imagine a city with the world's largest road potholes can pull this off.

Yanks Lose Big

Maybe the Yankees are kicking themselves for not offering more to acquire Randy Johnson, but that will not lessen the ouch of a 22-0 loss.

The humiliating loss will either spark them into a run that will end with a ring in October or will distract them and George Steinbrenner into a funk that will cost them dearly in the playoffs. If I were the Red Sox, with an upcoming series against The Bombers, I'd be worried.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

We're Losing Our Focus

This is turning into a bad version of one of those Chuck Norris "Missing in Action" movies. Enough!

We're losing our perspective on what's important in leadership qualities to guide our nation. It's one of the reasons I am running for Congress. And, I'll tell you up front: I never inhaled (or smoked anything,for that matter) and did not serve in the Armed Forces. I have bad feet and the Army is not and was not interested in having me serve.

A Good Reason To Cut Class

Looks like the Diamondbacks have a new shortstop.

Emailing Your Way Out Of the Closet

My wife and I often have discussed the power of email. I have had email since 1993 and quickly learned the perils of email and decided long ago that it’s lousy as an agent of personal communications. Each person assigns his or her own voice/meaning to the message and often that interpretation is different than the one the sender had in mind.

So, last night, my wife was forwarded an email from her cousin in which her cousin’s uncle announced to his family that he and his wife were separated and getting a divorce. They have been married for something like 40 years. He also announced he was gay.

The fact that such an announcement was no shock to me is irrelevant. This man, let’s call him Hal, chose email to inform his children, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc… of this “revelation.” He said he was too emotionally drained to face people directly.

Email? Great to send files and presos but a lousy vehicle to use to escape the closet. A special thumps-down for the person who forwarded the email to a group of extra recipients who were not on Hal’s original list. Nothing like spreading the good word.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Laura Branigan Dies

Sad to hear Laura Branigan died today at age 47. I can still hear the sound of “Self Control” wafting through the streets of Buenos Aires during our sabbatical in 1985. One of my fond memories of our trip.


Here's a nice piece on Stephen Drew, the Diamondbacks' No. 1 pick in the college draft. He's threatening to attend class at Florida State, taking him off the table (so to speak). His brother JD did the same thing when the Phillies drafted him; he didn't sign, went back to school and then became the No. 1 pick of St. Louis the following year. Needless to say, the fans at Citizens Bank Park booed JD when we went to the game back in July.

Bring On The Ads!

I signed up for Google to put ads on my site and give me a piece of the action. So far, I have yet to see an ad appear on this blog. It's not that I expected to get rich on this, or actually get any money at all, but I am anxious to see what ads appear on my site.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Baseball Weekend Recap

So, the weekend officially started at 5 p.m. yesterday when TS arrived at the hotel. He had a long flight delay in the Midwest, but luckily he’s 13 years younger than me and is in great shape (exercise and diet). His trip last year to Japan has him taking a very Japanese view of the world with a focus on balance. In fact, he’s signed up for a class in learning Japanese (the language, that is).

We hopped on BART and were at the game in plenty of time. Honestly, The Net is a dump. Only Wrigley Field is a bigger dump. The lines outside The Net were enormous and the gates are narrow, so it was like funneling people through a small opening. We got to our seats just as the National Anthem started.

The worst handicapped section in captivity

We were in the worst handicapped seats of any baseball stadium. (see above) Folding chairs loosely organized at the back of the section. The handicapped area was supposed to hold 24 people and it has room for about 10. Bad deal; it was like being in a bad press box, plus you couldn’t see the scoreboard, so you never knew who was at bat (well, at least for Tampa Bay). The other problem is that when The Raiders came back to town, they filled in the middle of the park (see below) with football seats, so the place has a scary trapped felling.

Al Davis' handiwork

The A’s won 5-4, but Tampa never should have scored four runs. Mark McLemore has no range at second, first making an error and then waving at two balls that bounded to his left into right field. Eric Chavez and Eric Byrnes hit home runs. Tim Hudson was great.

We left in the middle of the 8th as TS had not eaten and the ballpark food left something to be desired… well a lot to be desired. We BART-ed back to the hotel and then headed off for some sushi at a place near my old office at The Gate. The sushi joint was Hana Zen, and was pretty good.

So, we ended the night at 10:15 p.m. TS had to get up at 4 am to make his early flight back to NY. We wound up with five hours together and he told me about his new job and I told him about my plans to run for Congress. He was not surprised.

Headed home

I was at the airport this morning my customary two-plus hours before the flight. The flight was on time and we got to Phoenix four minutes early. I asked (out loud) if that made up for my three-hour delay on Tuesday?

I spoke briefly with my wife. Sounds like she had a great time, dancing and seeing family. I really missed her badly but I made the right move. Next time, I need to go further than SF to make the baseball weekend seem a little more exotic—even better, I need to go to a park I’ve never visited.

Baseball weekend is over.

Home Stretch

More details later, but the baseball weekend was great. We got to the game literally at the start of the National Anthem. TS and I talked for about five hours straight. The A's won, BART worked out great. I spoke briefly to my wife; sounds like she too had a good time.

Headed home. Pics and details to come.

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