Saturday, April 28, 2007

Flipperdoodle birthday

When I turned 29, my students taught me that it was an especially important golden birthday (turning 29 on the 29th). It made the whole celebration more special. A day later, I wound up seeing one of the best M's games I've ever seen. Golden birthday!

Well, I couldn't help but notice that today is my flipperdoodle birthday. I was born on 4/29/70. Today is 4/29/07. That only happens once, and I'm stoked about it.

Some people don't ever get a flipperdoodle birthday. My brother, born in 1966, would have to live to be 100 to get one. I get one TODAY>

Wife will take me to the Mariner game. As a present, Jeff Weaver will NOT be pitching.

There's still time for a present, everyone. Fannie May Trinidads. I mean it.

Anyway, happy my birthday to you.

Alison gets the last one.

Disillusionment/Movie Reality Crossover/Bittersweet=PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO.

Final scores:

Shannin: 4
Dad: 3
Tommyspoon: 1
Alison: 1
Jim: 1

Friday, April 27, 2007

IMDB meme take three

All of these have now been guessed except for #7, which has been changed again. With first place at stake, I'll keep changing it every day until it's right. I do know it's a movie my parents have seen and love, so we'll see if that's to Dad's advantage and they can force the tiebreaker. Or will Shannin win it all?

1. Loss of Mother/London/Inspiration BILLY ELLIOT. Dad gets it.
2. African American/Basketball/College HOOP DREAMS. Tommyspoon gets it.
3. Self-Sacrifice/Teen/Heroine LITTLE MERMAID. Dad gets it.
4. Anti Conformity/First Love/Literature DEAD POETS SOCIETY. Jim scores.
5. Queen of England/Assumed Identity/Star Crossed Lovers SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. Dad gets it.
6. Blood Splatter/Paris France/Attempted Murder MARATHON MAN. That's Shannin's
7. Disillusionment/Movie Reality Crossover/Bittersweet
8. Electric Blanket/Conversation/Dinner MY DINNER WITH ANDRE. Shannin, with assist from Don.
9. Disturbing/Color Tints/Hiding Under Bed SCHINDLER'S LIST. Shannin gets it.
10. Controversial/Desert/Cobra LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. Shannin again.

IMDB movie meme take two

Stealing a page from my wife's playbook...

I will change the least appropriate of the three adjectives for the fourth adjective, and will continue to do so until I can declare a winner.

I pick ten movies I really like. I look them up on IMDB. I list the first three keywords. You guess the movies. He/she who guesses the most wins my respect and admiration and a piece of chocolate.

In no particular order:

1. Loss of Mother/London/Inspiration
2. African American/Basketball/College (Tommyspoon gets it right)
3. Self-Sacrifice/Teen/Heroine (my bad...I typed the genre line instead of the plot last time)
4. Anti Conformity/First Love/Literature (Jim gets it right)
5. Queen of England/Assumed Identity/Star Crossed Lovers
6. Blood Splatter/Paris France/Attempted Murder (Shannin gets it right)
7. Disillusionment/Roller Coaster/Bittersweet (this'll take a while)
8. Electric Blanket/Conversation/Dinner
9. Disturbing/Color Tints/Hiding Under Bed
10. Controversial/Desert/Cobra (Shannin gets it right)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

IMDB movie meme...

EDIT: I will mark those who have correct guesses here, but not their correct guess...the correctly guessed answers are in the comments. That way, you can still play along even if someone else has guessed it.

Because my wife and RealSuperGirl have done it, and because I want you to do it...

I pick ten movies I really like. I look them up on IMDB. I list the first three keywords. You guess the movies. He/she who guesses the most wins my respect and admiration and a piece of chocolate.

In no particular order:

1. Loss of Mother/London/Motivation
2. African American/Basketball/College (Tommyspoon gets it right)
3. Family/Animation/Comedy (dude, this one is so unfair to you)
4. Anti Conformity/First Love/Literature (Jim gets it right)
5. No Opening Credits/Assumed Identity/Star Crossed Lovers
6. Blood Splatter/Paris France/Attempted Murder (Shannin gets it right)
7. Ukulele/Roller Coaster/Bittersweet (what the HELL???)
8. All Male Cast/Conversation/Dinner (threw y'all a bone)
9. Disturbing/Color Tints/Historic
10. Controversial/Desert/Cobra (Shannin gets it right)

Good luck...answers to come.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A thought...

If the government knew they were exaggerating (if not outright fabricating) the Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman stories, how are they different from Jayson Blair? And shouldn't heads roll in the government/military (at least those responsible for making crap up) just as they did at the New York Times?

And given the number of times this government has flat-ass lied to all of us, how can anyone believe them about anything?

19 more months of this shit.

Monday, April 23, 2007

David Halberstam

I'm sorry to hear of the death of David Halberstam today. He served as proof to me that smart guys could write about baseball. I read The Breaks of the Game when I was 13 or took a warts-and-all-but-still-loving look at what a year in the NBA feels like, as he traveled with the Portland Trail Blazers for the 1979/80 season. An excellent book. I also thoroughly enjoyed Summer of '49.

Intelligent sportswriting in a cool historical context. Sorry to see him go.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

What would I do if...

This happened to my dad a little while back, and I can't shake the brazenness of this from my head.

He and Mom were in the Houston airport awaiting a flight home to Seattle. Sitting next to him was a woman who was flying home to New Orleans, yammering away on her cell phone.

She announced loudly to her friend (and anyone else within hearing distance) that she had written her daughter's History term paper for her. Her daughter didn't have time to write it, and didn't have any idea about the topic anyway. So the mother wrote the paper and (she said, laughing out loud) got a 97, including the comment "good historical perspectives." She compared Bush's working with/against a Democratic Congress on the Iraq war to LBJ's work with his Congress during Vietnam.

Dad didn't engage the woman in conversation, and to be truthful, I probably wouldn't have either. I'd just have seethed about it for a long, long time. Hell, I wasn't even there and I'm seething about it anyway. But if I told the woman that not only was she proving to everyone listening that she was a complete turd, but that she was also hurting her daughter, I probably would have just gotten an obscene gesture for my trouble. A stranger at an airport can't change a morally bankrupt woman like this.

But what if I had been really, really sneaky? Said something like: "Hey...nice job with the paper! I couldn't help overhearing. I'm cousin goes to high school in New Orleans, and also has trouble with her History teacher. Where does your daughter go to high school?" Something like that. Then, I could email the head of the History department and try to get justice.

Yeah, I know, I'm probably dreaming. But it's a good dream.

Would you guys do anything if you were in the same situation?

Congrats big time

to Joe and Alison, who intermixed their DNA to make an awfully good-looking and surprisingly tall baby, who arrived last week.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

This could be

the soul-crushingest cruelest moment in sports history.

As soon as he is recognized as the stud he is, and just as he's coming into his own as perhaps the very best of the next generation...

in the very next damn start...

in a game that I actually zipped to Safeco Field for because I wanted to be a part of Felix's first start as a nationally-recognized stud...

Felix leaves with elbow tightness.

MRI tomorrow. I sincerely hope that it's good news, because Felix is my favorite thing in baseball right now. I'd hate to lose him.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Baseball lovers?

I've updated my baseball site. Just search Google on my real name. (I'm #1!)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I like Le Anne Schreiber.

She's ESPN's new ombudsman, paid to watch ESPN all day and comment about what she sees. And her current article is a great description of not only our current sports-show culture, but of our greater culture as well.

Like Schreiber, I am not a big fan of all of ESPN's yelling. (although I admit make an exception for Chris Berman's very loud enthusiasm on NFL Primetime). I seldom watch any talking-head shows because of the dunderheaded decibel levels therein. I'm not a big fan of this culture of loud-certainty-without-evidence. Frankly, it pisses me off when Bayless or Theismann or LeBetard does it. They're not the only ones. Consider, for instance, daytime court shows. Judge Wapner wouldn't survive today...we need loudmouthed Judge Judy instead. It's a product of the same cultural shift. Would David Brinkley survive on either Mike Malloy or Bill O'Reilly's shows? Nope.

I do wonder if our culture is blessedly shifting away from this mark of the last decade or so, however. First, Jon Stewart shot down CNN's Crossfire. Then, KNBR fired Larry Krueger, and now, we have the Don Imus flap. I don't know that I would have fired Krueger or Imus, but it's clear that we as a culture are taking a look at the toxicity--and, more importantly, the flat-out vacuous silliness--of loud-certainty-without-evidence. That's a good, blessed thing.

Is ESPN following? The King of loud-certainty-without-evidence, Joe Theismann, has been replaced by the quieter king of looking at film, Ron Jaworski.

Is the pendulum swinging back? Are we on the brink of a new, quieter, more thoughtful era?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The best laid plans...

One of my kids is working on a presentation about eating disorders. She hadn't heard of Karen Carpenter (and why should she have...believe it or not, she's been gone a quarter century). She really was gripped by Karen Carpenter's story, but she hadn't ever heard her voice...that gorgeous voice.

So, while she worked on her presentation in the computer lab, I sleuthed out clips of the Carpenters. But which song best demonstrates her voice (which I think might be the best in pop music history)? I go with Superstar. "Long Ago...and oh so far away...I fell in love with you...before the second show..." So nice. A great introduction to her voice.

I pull the student aside. She brings a friend so they can share their iPod headphones, which they plug into the computer. I take a second to prepare them. "You'll have to hear past the '70s sound--the song hasn't aged well. But that voice. It's gone now, and that's a tragedy."

Teachable moment! Sacred, blessed teachable moment for a kid who really wanted to know. I am the greatest teacher of all time.

As I walk away, leaving the kids to silent reflection over Karen Carpenter's perfect voice, I hear one say to the other:

"You're right. This IS the song from Tommy Boy."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Felix has arrived.

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod. I TiVoed tonight's ballgame because I wanted to see the Felix/Dice-K matchup. And Felix simply dominated. So far this year: 17 innings, 4 walks, 4 hits, 18 strikeouts. NO RUNS.

Unbelievable. And he's on my fantasy team to boot (although I support my reality team, the M's, much more enthusiastically than I do my fantasy team, Psychic Baseball Says).

I will now TiVo every stinking one of Felix's starts for the rest of the year.

What follows is not an actual projection. It is an educated wish.

Let's suppose Felix stays healthy and stays a stud for 36 starts this year.

Let's suppose the M's go 25-11 in those starts. (Given what we've seen in his first two starts, that might actually be conservative.)

Now, let's suppose the M's manage to play .500 ball for the other 4 pitchers. I am NOT convinced this is likely, but hey, roll with me.

If that happens, the M's win 88 games...and that could be good for a wild card.

I have this strange, bizarre, unfamiliar feeling in me.

It's called optimism.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Google twins...
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

I enjoyed doing the above name-game. It's not perfect...about 10% of people will type in a first name that isn't in the database, and 10% will type in a last name they don't have. Also, it's got other issues...for instance, it claims that there's an Efrain Kowalski out there, and that there are 65 people in the US named "Jose O'Leary." I highly doubt there's even one. (But if there is, he's going to find this on Google someday. Hi, Jose...leave me a comment!)

As for my name, there's me, there's an excellent film producer (albeit not an American one) with loads of web pages devoted to his work and interviews, a relatively well-known bassist (well-known enough that my wife had heard of his band), and at least one high school principal. Don't worry...I'm still the #1 me on the internet.

But what would happen if I tried to contact them all, in a Dave Gorman-esque kind of way? What would we talk about? I mean, it'd be easier for me than for Gorman or for, say, a Jim Anderson, but would we get along on the basis of our shared German surname and not-uncommon Christian first name?

It'd be fun to talk to a few of them.

Like Seattle Times reporter Marc Ramirez did.

(thanks to Jim Anderson...the one I know, out of 15,606 of them in the US, that is...for the link)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Spring Break...Great Lakes style!

The temperature here in Seattle was 79 degrees yesterday. Today it made the 60s. And we were in freakin' Wisconsin. Wind Chill below zero.

As we drove along through snow flurries, (laughing at ourselves for putting ourselves in this position), periodically we'd shout out: "SPRING BREAK! WOOOOO!"

In the course of doing this, my wife had a great idea for a new video:

Girls Gone Wild: Appleton.

Next year, we spend break in Wisconsin, only with a camera crew and some release forms. We wander through the streets of Appleton, Oshkosh, Green Bay, and Racine, particularly on the beaches and the streets outside the bars. And we film college-aged girls opening up their down overcoats to show us the parkas underneath.

Is that actually a funny idea, or were we just punchy?

Anyhow, Swankette has some reviews of the ballparks. Mine will be up on my site within a week or so.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Doesn't anybody play baseball?

OK, maybe not tonight.

My wife has blogged about a couple of the games on our trip thus far. Today we made it up to Appleton, Wisconsin to see the Baby M's play. At game time a half an hour ago, the temperature was 25 degrees with wind chill in the single digits.

What do you know...they cancelled the game!

(I would have made it through the game, for the record. We came with many layers for just the purpose. But alas, I will have to return to Wisconsin someday.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Julia 1985-2007

RIP, kid, and thanks for what you did for me...and everyone else.

I won't sully your leaving us with any platitudes. I'm just dreadfully sad to see you go.