Friday, April 17, 2015


I am guessing that our non-American friends won't recognize the grinning face of this palooka!

But, then, I was impressed that you guys immediately recognized the young Hunter S. Thompson from a few Sabbaths back.

Do you know who is most likely to recognize this smiling visage?

Jay in Philadelphia.

If I had to place a bet, it would be on Jay.

In any case, the sun is beginning to go down and there is pasta to be boiled off and tossed with various forms of deliciousness.


  1. Hankus Pankus. The Hebrew Hammer. Hammerin' Hank.

    As a young superstar, he sat out of a game on Yom Kippur in 1934, when Detroit was in the middle of their first pennant race in decades. I'd imagine some of the fans were angry, but they ultimately understood. G-d bless America!

    He was one of Jackie Robinson's vocal supporters, when Robinson broke the MLB color barrier in 1947.

    Served in the Army for almost 4 years during WWII.

    As a Philadelphian, I feel a deep kinship with my rust belt brothers and sisters in Detroit. Since my Phillies suck, and won't even pretend to contend again until 2017 at the earliest, I'm pulling for either an A's or Tigers title this year.

    I'm glad to have baseball back, nonetheless.

    1. "So the graduations hang on the wall, but they never really helped us at all."

      But, yes, that's right!

      The Great Hank Greenberg!

      Y'know, I love to ask Laurie out of the blue, "So, Bun, who is the best baseball player that ever lived?"

      And she'll look up from her book or magazine and say, "Hankus Pankus?"

      It slays me, dude.

    2. Oh, and btw, tomorrow is our first game of the season and it's Ring Ceremony Day.

      The Giants, after creating a dynasty, dropped the last SEVEN GAMES IN A ROW!

      I cannot even really feel too bad about it... not after the last five years.

    3. We've now lost six in a row, but we're supposed to suck, so that doesn't bother me. Should have torn everything down and started the rebuild in 2013. Those two years of trying to squeeze one more run out of an aging core that was obviously (well, obvious to everyone but Ruben Amaro) not capable of doing so, probably cost us five or more. The worst part is that our farm system looks about as promising as Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl.

      The Sixers (my favorite sport is basketball, but for obvious reasons I haven't wasted much time on the NBA lately) are still tanking and the Flyers seem to have realized it's rebuild time (a good thing!).

      The Eagles are our hope! And "hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." ;)

  2. Hope you guys enjoy the baseball season!

    It's all completely over my ignorant British head.

    Have enjoyed a couple of 'baseball movies', though.

    Nice to stop by and find people quoting Shawshank!

    1. Field of Dreams gets me at the end every single time. I know it's coming, but it still gets a little... 'dusty,' as they say... in the room, during the final scene.

      It's one of the only three or four movies I'll never turn off if I stumble across it while flipping through the channels.

      Shawshank is, of course, another one of those films!

    2. Completely agree about Field of Dreams! I can watch it over and over again. It never fails to work its magic. I always cry.

      Shawshank's wonderful! It's funny how it makes no difference that you can know it 'almost backwards'. You still get completely caught up in it every time.

  3. One of the best baseball films ever is The Bronx is Burning.

    John Turturro as Yankee manager Billy Martin and Oliver Platt as the much beloved George Steinbrenner in 1977, the Summer of Sam.

    1. Haven't seen that one yet. But even this avowed yankee (I will NOT capitalize their name!) hater loves Pride of the yankees.

      For Love of the Game appeals to me 27% more than it otherwise would, because Costner goes out perfect against The Evil Empire, of course!

    2. The Bronx is Burning is actually a mini-series.

      Anyway, I always get a kick out of people who truly, honestly hate the Yankees.

      I was at a game last year with my brother-in-law who also despises the Yankees.

      I said to him something like, "I can't understand why anyone would hate a sports team."

      And he looked at me filled with righteous indignation and said, "Are you honestly going to sit there and tell me that there is no good reason hate the New York Yankees??"

      I laughed my ass off!

    3. The yankees, the Penguins, the Cowboys and Duke basketball. The Quadrumvirate of Evil, in its appropriate order!

    4. Go YANKEES! (all caps just for you , Jay!)
      Yankee haters crack me up too. Especially Mets fans who, even if the Mets are doing well, as they are now, are never really happy unless the Yanks suck.
      BTW, congrats to the Giants for putting together some excellent teams the past several years. My stepson out in Moraga is a huge Giants fan, and my father grew up a NY Giants fan. I know he would have been happy they won last year.
      Several years ago, I visited a friend in Boston and he took me to a Red Sox game. It seemed like everyone there was wearing teeshirts with, shall we say, creative ways of hating the Yankees written on them. The joke here is that they were playing the Chicago White Sox. I wore an A's cap to be on the safe side, but my friend kept telling anyone he could find that I was an avid NY fan.
      I'm glad baseball season has finally arrived.

    5. (grumbling...)

      I'm going to 'borrow' Mike's brother-in-law's response to that question one day, btw.

      I lived in Oakland for a month in 2007, and considering that and their original Philadelphia connection, I secretly root for the A's when nobody's looking. Especially when the Phils suck, as they do now.

    6. (Even though they use the evil abomination known as a 'designated hitter,' but I suppose I can't fault them for doing that... it's their league's fault that they have to cheat!)

    7. I like to tell people that the difference between the Oakland Coliseum and AT&T Park is essentially the difference between Oakland and San Francisco. The Coliseum is a bunker, a rough-house, and the fans are loud and obnoxious and having a great time.

      AT&T Park is genteel. You can get sushi. I was once even reprimanded by a gentleman sitting in front of me for cursing at an empire because his kid was with him. On the other hand, AT&T Park is a much, much nicer atmosphere. It is, in fact, a very beautiful ballpark and I love the place.

      So, we got back a short while ago and the Giants snapped their 8 game losing streak by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 4 to 1. This is an important win and it is very cool that it happened, not only while Laurie and I were in attendance, but during the World Series Victory Ring Ceremony.

      All the fans got a replica and, I have to say, it's a nicely done replica. It is not like some sort-of cheep plastic piece of garbage, but solidly produced copy of the real thing that the players received today.

      They even had sky-divers leap from helicopters into the field to deliver the rings to the fellahs.

      I have never seen anything like this in my entire life. It was just wild!

      Go Giants!

      {Y'know, if I were to turn this into a baseball blog I would anger far fewer people and thereby live a happier life.}

    8. I have rooted for the A's as well, Jay. When I lived out there the Coliseum was fifteen or 20 minutes away and the ticket prices were cheap
      I rooted for them against KC in the playoffs last year. Their season seemed to fall apart after Billy Bean made those midseason moves.

    9. Mike,
      It used to be the other way around concerning the ballparks back when the Giants had to play in the frigid, freezing windy cold of Candlestick Park and before the Coliseum added Mount Davis.
      Now that ball clubs have gone back to parks designed specifically for baseball AT&T (formerly PacBell) Park is a real gem.

    10. I regret never having had the chance to go to a game at PacBell / AT&T. Though I watched a game at the Gordon Biersch around the corner from there once. But that's not quite the same thing, heh.

      I'd imagine the upgrade from Candlestick to AT&T was as dramatic as that of the Phils from The Vet (worst turf and seats in the history of turf and seats?) to the beautiful baseball palace of Citizens Bank Park.

  4. I am guessing that our non-American friends won't recognize the grinning face of this palooka!

    Yep. You were guessing right. If it wasn't for the baseball cap I wouldn't have gone for someone in vaudeville.

    1. He played for Detroit in the 1930s and was one of the few ballplayers to welcome Jackie Robinson into the big leagues. Greenberg got a lot of abuse when he first broke into the game, but nobody got it worse than Robinson who carried anger deep within his heart until the day he died.

  5. I liked Field of Dreams

    Great movie

  6. I got most of my baseball education from George and Kramer

  7. Baseball isn't major in Australia but it is a recognized sport and there is a national league. Bigger than cricket is in the US for sure. A former colleague was national president of the Australian Baseball Association,.

    A few Australians have been picked from this to the US major leagues. Very big news here has been the trial and conviction today of three teenagers who murdered in a thrill killing a very promising young player on a baseball scholarship at Oklahoma University while out for a jog.

    1. A "thrill killing" of a promising Australian college baseball player on his way to Oklahoma?


      So, no actual motive beyond... the shear joy of it?

    2. Nope. And the murder was in Oklahoma.

    3. Oh, for chrissake.

      I missed this one, Geoff.

      OKLAHOMA CITY -- An Australian man attending an Oklahoma college on a baseball scholarship was shot and killed in what police described Monday as a random act of violence by three "bored" teenagers who decided to kill someone for the fun of it.

  8. Tragedy has struck. My coffee maker has died. I am distraught.

    1. That's terrible! Our thoughts are with you.

      This might cheer you up a little (?)

      The incomparable Godfrey Elfwick:

      The whole segment can be found here, apparently.

    2. Best thing I've read in a while! Will have to check out the YouTube tonight...

    3. I've got five places for 24-hour coffee access within a 10-minute walk, but unfortunately they all suck. Though the Dunkin' Donuts can do in a desperate pinch. The good coffee shops, of which there are three within the same range, don't open until 7 AM (too late!), and they all close in the late afternoon.

      I won't be able to pick up a new machine until Friday, probably.

      I'll make it through, somehow.

      "Ain't a hard time been invented that I cannot handle!" ;)

      (That one was from Heat, which is another film I'll never turn off once I come across it.)

    4. Good luck with having to put up with second/third-rate coffee till Friday.

      It will pass!

      I'm not that familiar with Heat - but like the quote!

      Will try and watch out for it.

      Hope you enjoy the Elfwick thing.

  9. It either had to be Greenberg or Koufax! I was really surprised to learn that my mother had heard of Babe Ruth - must have seen newsreels of him at the cinema in the old days.

    1. Koufax was an admirable guy, Daphne.

      He gave up the end of his career in order to save his arm.

      He told the press that - and I am paraphrasing - he'd rather keep the use of his arm than lose it in pursuit of strikeouts.

      He also stood up for the lesser players in contract disputes with the bosses in Los Angeles, along with his teammate Don Drysdale.