Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Can of Corn Challenge: Best Baseball Movie (June)

There have been a lot of baseball movies made over the years and picking a best baseball movie is subjective, at best, as everyone has their favorite.  Did you like Sandlot or Pride of the Yankees?  Bang the Drum Slowly comes up a lot in discussion.

In my mind, I consider Bull Durham to be the best baseball movie. I really can't put my finger on it, but I think it comes as close as possible to revealing the inner workings of how professional baseball players actually tick.  Pride of the Yankees was too sanitized and Sandlot does a good job at showing baseball from a kids point of view, but for my money, I could watch Bull Durham over and over again, probably because it's more than just about baseball.  And because I played catcher in Little League and the star, Kevin Costner, plays the catcher in the movie didn't hurt its chances as the best baseball movie ever. 

It's one of the few movies where I have multiple scenes etched in my brain, perhaps because I saw it twice in the theaters. Any time I see it playing, which is infrequently unless I'm traveling and staying in a motel that has cable, I'll watch it.  I really just enjoy the movie.  Yes, it's definitely not a kid's movie and if you have an aversion to course language, I would advise not watching it, but I really don't think you can go wrong with seeing this movie, if you are a baseball fan.

"Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball,  high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap.  I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.  I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter.  I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep soft, wet kisses that last three days."

"You're gonna have to learn your clich├ęs.  You're going to have to study them, you're gonna have to know them.  They're your friends.  Write this down: 'We gotta play it one day at a time.'"

"This son of a bitch is throwing a two-hit shutout. He's shaking me off.  You believe that shit?  Charlie, here comes the deuce.  And when you speak of me, speak well."

"Man that ball got outta here in a hurry.  I mean anything travels that far ought have a damn stewardess it, don't you think?"

"Yeah, I was in the show.  I was in the show for 21 days once - the 21 greatest days of my life.  You know, you never handle your luggage in the show, somebody else carries your bags.  It was great.  You hit white balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains."

And, I'll leave you with this:

The photo is from the recreation yard at Alcatraz Island which I took a couple of weeks ago.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Can of Corn Challenge: Swing and a miss (May)

Well, this month's challenge snuck up on me.  I blame the end of the year for my lack of activity on all fronts.  Let's face it.  It just gets plain busy at the end of the school year and time is at a premium. So this post is a basic Swing and a Miss.  

Here's a shot I took in 2013 when my daughter took me to a baseball game at Anaheim Stadium to see my beloved Angels take on the Seattle Mariners.  If I remember correctly, the Angels won, so I went home a happy camper.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Can of Corn Challenge: An early baseball memory (April)

P.J. has convinced me, or probably like tricked me into another writing challenge.  He's done a good job, noting several times in the past that I seem to write more frequently when I have these challenges in front of me, so here goes.  This is a monthly challenge, to write about baseball.  Today's topic is an early baseball memory.

I grew up in Orange County, a suburb of Los Angeles.  Disneyland was only 6 years old when we moved to California.  The Lakers hadn't hit their stride yet and baseball was all about the Dodgers.  I listened to Vin Scully on the radio for Dodger baseball, but whenever we went to a game, it was always to Anaheim, to see the Angels play.  The stadium was close to home and we'd always see either Cleveland Indians or the Chicago White Sox.  

Anyway, we'd go to the game, pay a buck fifty to sit up in the upper deck by the left field foul pole and watch an Angel game.  Always the Chicago White Sox or the Cleveland Indians.  I hadn't really thought why, but I was fairly young, so as far as I knew, the only teams in the American League were the Angels, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox.  I didn't know any different.

My first game that I can remember seeing, I saw catcher Tom Egan hit a two run homer for the Angels, then saw Andy Messersmith hit a solo shot.  Both homers cleared the left field fence and two lucky baseball fans went home with souvenirs that day.  I was shocked really.  In the past, listening to the games on the radio, I always assumed that the ball had to be thrown back on to the field so the players could keep playing.  Who knew?

From then on, I always brought a glove to the game.  We were always in the upper deck, so they never came up there, but I could still be an optimist.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Stalking Geocachers

Yesterday, I went on a hike and found 3 geocaches.  Here's a YouTube video I created for one of the caches I found yesterday.  Enjoy.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The right way to apologize

Too many times, I hear about, or see famous people step up to a microphone and "apologize" for some action that they've done recently.  Usually, it's because they engaged their mouths before their brains and said something incredibly stupid or insensitive.  Almost always, the apology ends with "I apologize if I have offended anyone."

What?  Doe that mean you don't apologize if you didn't offend someone?  That's just BS in my opinion.  A good apology has four steps:

Step 1: Express remorse.  Every apology needs to start with two magic words: "I'm sorry," or "I apologize."

Step 2: Admit responsibility.  Next, admit responsibility for your actions or behavior, and acknowledge what you did.

Step 3: Make amends.

Step 4: Promise that it won't happen again.

PricewaterhouseCoopers did a whopper of a mistake at last night's Oscars award ceremony when the wrong envelope was handed to Warren Beatty and the wrong winner was announced for Best Picture.  This is what PricewaterhouseCoopers did almost immediately after they discovered the mistake.  They issued an apology.

"We sincerely apologize to 'Moonlight,' 'La La Land,' Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for Best Picture," read PwC's apology.

"The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected.  We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.  We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation," added the statement.

About the only thing this didn't address was the promise that it won't happen again.  But since they've been doing this for 83 years and this is really the first time this has happened due to an error on their part, I'm pretty sure that the "Promise it won't happen again" part is implied.

I wish more people, especially famous people who say stupid or insensitive things, would look at this real apology and actually apologize and mean it the next time they screw up.  Either that, or I'm going to have to stay offended all the time to make the apology real.  But, I really shouldn't have to do that.  If you screw up, apologize for it, admit responsibility, make amends for it and promise not to do it again.  PricewaterhouseCoopers knows how to apologize.  Others should follow their lead.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Goals for the year

This post, as are most things in my life it seems, is just a little bit late.  I got caught up in the 20 days of Chill challenge and really didn't think about posting something along this line for the month of January and here's now almost halfway through February.  But as one of my students said last year, "Better late than never."

Goals that I have for myself are as follows and they fall into two main categories:  Hobbies and Personal.  Interestingly, the main personal goal is tied up with my hobbies.  If I work on that one, the others will fall into place.

First off, let me talk about hobbies.  I went out geocaching today.  Big deal most of you will say, but what you don't realize is I've only  gone out geocaching four days in the entire month of February.  In other words, I've taken a step back, slightly.  Many of you might not know is I just completed a 601 consecutive day streak where I either found a cache or attended an event.  It stretched from June 1st, 2015 until January 21st of this year.  Sunday, the 22nd felt weird not to go caching, but it rained hard all day and I was able to use the rain as justification for me not going out and finding a cache that day.

I have other geocaching goals in mind, many of them most of you will probably find quite silly, but those particular goals keep me interested in the game.  My current goal is to get every date on the calendar filled in with 11 finds each.  Since I've been geocaching since 2001, you would think that I'd found at least 11 caches on every day of the year.  Not so.  There are certain time periods, notably the months of September and December, where I am busy doing other things and geocaching takes a back seat.  Since the consecutive day streak has ended however, I can now concentrate on filling in those dates.  This won't happen by the end of the year, since I already have a couple of dates in January and February that still need to be filled in 2018.  But, at least I can put a dent in that particular goal.

Since taking a step back, I've decided that I want to find more quality caches.  If I have to walk or hike to a cache, then I rate that higher quality-wise than if I just walk up to something and find it there.  That doesn't mean I'll change my entire caching habit, but I would like to work on that aspect.  Today was a perfect example of both aspects.  I went over to Whittier today to cache along a trail in the Arroyo Pescadero.  No such luck since the trails were closed due to the weather we've been having.  So I found some nearby caches in parks and along some streets and ended up over near another large park where the trails were open and I was able to find some good quality hiking caches.  It was like the best of both worlds.  The only thing that would have made it better would have been if I'd had a caching partner, but that doesn't always work out and I'd rather do a solo hike then sit at home because I don't have someone to go caching with.

Today also made me realize why I need to step back slightly from geocaching.  On the trail today, I saw two swallowtail butterflies flitting around each other, most likely in some kind of mating or territorial ritual.  And I didn't have my camera with me.  Two years ago, I always took my camera with me.  Now, it very rarely comes out of the camera bag.  I take photos with my iPhone, but those don't compare to the ones I post here.  That's also probably one of the reasons that I don't post as often here on my blog.  The blog's title is "A Photo a Day."  I really need to get out more and take photos again.  I discovered today, that I have missed taking photos. I think the consecutive day streak had something to do with that as well.  I was pretty much consumed with making sure I found at least one geocache, that I wasn't concerned about other things that I enjoyed doing and so photography fell by the wayside.  That's going to change this year.  I just need to strike a better balance between the two.  And a better balance between the two means, more photos and thus more posts here as well.  It's a win/win all the way around.

And lastly, but probably most importantly, is my personal goal:  Lose another 15 pounds by the end of the year.  I have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic.  This is not a good thing and I don't want to slide down that slippery slope and so losing weight is a very good option for me to help me avoid becoming diabetic.  In the past two years, I've lost 30 pounds.  Another 15 to 20 pounds will put me back at my college weight, which will be much healthier for me in the long run.  Hiking, and thus geocaching will help with this.  But if I can't find a geocache, then I can always walk the Thompson Creek Trail or the Claremont Wilderness loop.  A five mile hike is always good for the body and good for the soul.

Thanks for reading this. As always, I look forward to your comments.  

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Dear Mr. Grossman

I met you in the summer of 1986, when my girlfriend took me to meet you and your wife.  Over the course of the last 31 years, I've known you by a variety of different names.  You were Mr. Grossman for about a day, possibly two, before you became Sherwin to me.  Less than a year later, you were Dad.  I had become part of your family by marrying your youngest daughter.  Within two years you had been renamed once again, the name that you kept for the rest of your life, Grandpa.

When we first met, you were a heavy smoker.  When your daughter became pregnant with your first grandchild, you started to cut back.  We had already outlawed you from smoking inside our house, so after a dinner you'd go outside to have your smoke.  Eventually, you decided that you wanted to live longer to enjoy your grandchildren down the road, so you quit.  I'm very glad you made that decision, because you were able to enjoy your granddaughter for 27 years, and your two grandsons for 25 and 21 years.

I chose this photo of you because it's an awesome photo of you with your grandchildren.  You were one of the hardest individuals in the world to get a good smile out of.  My very last roll of film I ever took, I ended up shooting an entire roll of trying to get a good shot of you and Grandma together.  The first shot on the roll was the best and only one where you were really smiling.  This shot of you with the kids is the best I've got, but it's a good one and that's what counts.

Today, your daughter and I began the painful task of cleaning up a house after a loved one has left.  This was not a one day job, but just the first step.  However, you should know that I know, now more than ever, why your daughter is the way that she is.  You taught her very well and I hope you're very proud of that.  You have left a good legacy behind.  You were a very good father-in-law and if I can be half the father-in-law that you were, I will have to say that I have succeeded in that part of my life.

You leave behind two very loving daughters, three loving grandchildren, and one loving son-in-law.  You will be missed Grandpa.

Sherwin Grossman
March 7, 1930 - February 3, 2017