Yes, indeedy, baseball season has arrived. The spring preseason games are in full swing, players are trying to make their teams' rosters, and the air is filled with the sounds of bats making contact.
Crowds are cheering (albeit smaller crowds in smaller spring training stands), dads are with their kids, and we're getting a good look at the stars, future stars, and wanna-be stars.
My favorite Atlanta Braves will look a little different this year. All-Star pitcher Tim Hudson is gone to the Giants, and All-Star catcher Brian McCann is now with the Yankees. But the good new is that the Braves have signed long-term contracts with their young stars;pitchers Craig Kimbrel and Julio Teheran, first baseman Freddie Freeman, shortstop Andrelton Simmons, and right fielder Jayson Heyward will be around for a few years.
The Upton Brothers (Jason and BJ) are still around, and hopefully BJ will improve over his 2013 season slump. Dan Uggla too.
At any rate, the late winter days seem brighter now that Opening Day of the 2014 Major League Baseball season is just around the corner.
I love baseball.
Friday, March 7, 2014
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I’m a big fan of two AMC horror dramas – Walking Dead and Bates Motel. The first is the continuing saga of how a group of people who survived the upcoming zombie apocalypse are faring in a world where all the rules have changed; the second is a prequel of sorts of how psycho Norman Bates came to be before Alfred Hitchcock made him famous in Psycho.
Immediately after Walking Dead airs, the after-show, Talking Dead, comes on the air. It’s a funny, yet serious discussion of the episode we’ve just seen, hosted by stand-up comedian Chris Hardwick, with a small live audience and some great guests.
Starting this year, immediately after Bates Motel aired on Monday night, it was followed by a one-time-only after-show, Bates Motel: After Hours. It was hosted by Carrie Keagan, with guest appearances by Vera Farmiga (Norma Bates), Max Thieriot (Dylan Massett), and executive producers Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin.
It was bad. Real bad. I blame Carrie Keagan. She’s pretty bad, I can describe her hosting style as opening a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, adding a can of water, and heating it on the stove. Yep, that bad. Her voice is extremely irritating (I had to turn the volume ‘way down). The only redeeming factor was Vera Farmiga.
In their online poll, 55.33% of those voting said they’d tune in to After Hours if it were expanded to a weekly show. A whopping 44.67% said “No.” One of those is me.
Monday, March 3, 2014
They came in the morning – heavily tanned men who spoke with a local accent, experts in what they do – and took over our front yard with their tools and equipment.
They came in the house, climbed up into our attic to survey the situation, and then began digging up the yard. They cut a deep trench where a heavy PVC pipe led electrical wires to the house.
Driving by, you just know something was up. And something IS up, indeed.
They’re going to replace about 80% of the wiring in our house, which was constructed in the ‘50s. The wiring is at least 60 years old and can’t handle our electrical needs for the future. So the bullet was bitten and the electrical renovations were committed.
Ahead are a few weeks of commotion and occasional power interruptions as the work progresses. But there will be a light at the end of the tunnel – more dependable power for our constantly growing need, more outlets to help eliminate the string of power strips, fewer brownouts … and maybe, just maybe, photo-voltaic (PV) installation to cut back on our electric bill (if Hawaiian Electric will allow it).
At least, that’s the plan.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
I like to get to airports early, which is fine, except then sometimes you have too much time on your hands. So what I do is wander around and take pix with my phone.
Pix like these:
Pix like these:
|Chandelier at Honolulu International (HNL), Sept. 1, 2013|
|Hawaiian Airlines Gate Area (HNL), Sept. 1, 2013|
|Explore Interactive Screen at Los Angeles Airport (LAX), Sept. 2, 2013|
|Slot Machines at Las Vegas McCarran Airport (LAS), Sept. 2, 2013|
|The Bar at Club LAS, McCarran Airport (LAS), Sept. 6, 2013|
|Concourse Display, Kahului Maui Airport (OGG), Sept. 19, 2013|
|Rolling Ball Sculpture, San Jose County Airport (SJC), Sept. 30, 2013|
Thursday, February 27, 2014
The Stella Awards … outrageous examples of the judicial system gone horribly wrong. Yesterday I posted the 4th- through 7th-place winners.
Today, it’s time for the top three awardees.
Amber Carson was awarded $113,500 when she sued a Philadelphia, PA, restaurant because she slipped on a spilled soft drink, causing her tailbone to yield to the hard floor and crack. The Lancaster woman got away with one, didn’t she, because she and her boyfriend had been having an argument. About a half-minute earlier, in a fit of anger, SHE THREW HER DRINK AT HIM.
The owner of a night club was sued by Kara Walton of Claymont, DE, after she fell from a bathroom window to the floor and knocked out two of her front teeth. The jury said, “Pay her $12,000 plus dental expenses.” Never mind that the was trying to sneak out through the window TO AVOID PAYING THE $3.50 COVER CHARGE.
If you see Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, OK, driving a Winnebago, better stay out of her way. She sued Winnebago and got $1,750,000 plus a new motor home when the one she was driving for the first time ran off the freeway and crashed, overturning and injuring her. Sounds reasonable, until you’re told that she has set the cruise control at 70 mph, got out of the driver’s seat, walked back into the Winnebago AND MADE HERSELF A SANDWICH.
She blamed Winnebago for the accident. After all, the company never said in the owner’s manual that the driver had to stay behind the wheel while on cruise control. And you know what? Winnebago actually made a change in their owner’s manual … um, in case she wanted to buy her husband a new motor home?
(Aren’t You Glad It’s The End?)
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Maybe you don’t remember Stella Liebeck of New Mexico, but she’s had such an effect on your life. She’s the one who sued McDonald’s because she got scalded with hot coffee. See, while riding in her grandson’s car, she took the cover off, put the cup between her knees, and … yikes! So she sued McDonald’s (what?) and in a seemingly strange verdict, won $640,000.
I found her picture on Google Images, but will refrain from using it here … can’t be too careful, you know, she just might sue me.
The Stella Awards were named after her … And the 2013 awards have been released. Here are the 7th, 6th, 5th and 4th place winners. I’ll share top winners with you the day after tomorrow.
A woman, Kathleen Robertson, broke her ankle when she tripped over a kid running inside an Austin, TX, furniture store. Funny thing is, IT WAS HER OWN KID. The unfunny thing is, she was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers.
When his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda, 19-year-old Los Angelino Carl Truman sued him. He didn’t notice there was anyone behind the wheel … WHEN HE WAS TRYING TO STEAL THE HUBCAPS. Truman was awarded $74,000 plus medical expenses.
Terrence Dickson of Bristol, PA, had to survive for eight days on a case of Pepsi and a bag of dry dog food when he was trapped in a garage with a malfunctioning door opener. So, he sued the homeowner’s insurance company. He said he suffered mental anguish. So what’s the big deal with his $500,000 mental anguish award? HE WAS TRYING TO BURGLARIZE THE HOUSE and entered through the garage.
This guy, Jerry Williams of Little Rock, AR, got $14,500 plus medical expenses because his neighbor’s chained beagle bit him on the butt. He might have gotten more, except the jury was a little skeptical. After all, wouldn’t any dog get angry if you did what he did? HE HAD SHOT THE DOG REPEATED WITH A PELLET GUN.
(To Be Continued)
Sunday, February 23, 2014
I was wandering around the bakery next to the Tides Wharf Restaurant in Bodega Bay, just checking out the neat stuff they had on the shelves. We never get to see these things in Hawaii, y'know ... especially the locally produced wines.
One of the displays just yelled out my name and yanked me over to the bottles on the shelf. There on the labels was Tippi Hedren, star of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. They're pretty obsessed with that movie in Bodega, as you can imagine.
The horror-suspense movie was filmed there, and made the place famous. Ms Hedren herself was the subject of the 2012 movie, The Girl, about Hitchcock's obsession with her during the filming of her movie debut.
So there she was, four bottles of her looking sultry, but definitely Tippi and not tipsy.
The Tippi wine is bottled by Windsor Vineyards for The Shambala Preserve and The Roar Foundation, which was founded in 1983 by Ms. Hedren. The preserve, established in 1972 as a sanctuary for big cats, is located in Acton, California, near Antelope Valley in Los Angeles County.
Hiding in the bottle behind her lovely visage is a 2010 California Zinfandel.
And no, I didn't buy a bottle. We're not wine-drinkers.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Women in Russia are angry and they’re not going to take it anymore.
You might even say they have their panties in a bunch.
Why? Because soon, they won’t be able to buy the lacy, synthetic lingerie that they’ve become accustomed to since the Soviet Union fell.
And it’s not just Russia. It’s Belarus and Kazakhstan too. Anything less than 6% cotton can’t be imported, made, or sold in these three countries.
That will leave the women with only frumpy, unflattering cotton underwear to wear under their sarafans (well, okay, I know they don’t wear these anymore, but I couldn't resist the mental image the long pinafores evoke).
So this week, Kazakhstani women staged a protest – they carried signs, shouted “Freedom to panties!”, and … wore lace underwear on their heads.
According to the Russian Textile Businesses Union, 80% of the $4 billion worth of underwear sold in Russia each year. And as do the unions here in Hawaii and the United States, they want a bigger slice of the pie. Can’t say as I blame them. Any union member should empathize.
Have La Perla intimate wear and Victoria’s Secret seen their hey-day in Russia? Not yet, their products are flying off the shelves in lingerie stores because the ban won’t go into effect until July 1.
Things sure have changed in Russia. The women are no panty-waists anymore.
I kid you not.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
This is just out … so I tore up the Left Field Wander page and reset it to bring you this startling news: Hawaii resort hotel room rates are high. So high, in fact, that five of the 10 most expensive rooms are located in my state.
We’re talking average room rates for the week of Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14), through the Presidents Day weekend just ended, according to the booking site, CheapHotels.org.
Here’s the way we ranked:
- KIHEI, MAUI, HI ($416 a night)
- Vail, CO ($402)
- Key West, FL ($399)
- WAILEA, MAUI, HI ($359)
- Sanibel Island, FL ($329)
- WAIKOLOA, HAWAII ISLAND, HI ($326)
- Islamorada, FL ($319)
- Aspen, CO ($299)
- POIPU, KAUAI, HI ($296)
- KAANAPALI, MAUI, HI ($289)
Now … aren’t you glad you stayed home this past weekend?
Monday, February 17, 2014
We’re just past halfway through the XXII Olympic Winter Games being held in Sochi, Russia; the quadrennial spectacle’s closing ceremony is this coming Sunday. So it’s a good time to reflect on some thoughts I’ve had about the past week or so.
If You Don’t Win, Blame the Equipment
The U.S. speed skating team isn’t doing so well, and has been unable to bring home any medals in their events.
But wait, weren’t they supposed to do well? Weren’t Shani Davis and Heather Richardson supposed to burn up the track and being home medals?
The team (as of Saturday morning) was a dismal 0 for 7 in medal attempts.
So … they’re changing their racing suits. They’ve been wearing new, state-of-the-art ones designed by Under Armour. They’ve decided to go back to their old ones, sending Under Armour into a frantic updating of the old racing suits.
In sports, when you don’t win, you start blaming the equipment – baseball players look at their gloves when they boot a chance, football players look at their gloves when they miss a pass, tennis players inspect their racket when they miss a return.
Well, what about the obvious? What if the skaters from other countries who won medals were simply better than the Americans? Has anybody thought about that?
Luge Racing Isn’t That Scary
At least, not when you compare it to skeleton racing. In the luge event, the racer lies on his/her back on a teeny little sled and careens feet-first down a long and curvy ice track, reaching speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour. Scary enough, for sure.
But there’s a scarier race – the skeleton, introduced a dozen years ago in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. It’s basically the same as the luge, except that the rider is on his/her belly, chin about an inch off the ice, flying head-first down the track.
If you’ve ridden a roller coaster, you know fear is magnified when you can see ahead to what’s coming up. Now just imagine you’re going head first and your face is about to be rubbed off on ice.
Required: A skeleton-specific helmet and a sturdy and strong chin guard.
Skiers Are Crazy
Snowboarders are nuts. Who in their right mind would do what they do?
Twisting and somersaulting high in the air, ending with a controlled fall and expecting to land feet first so they can head up to the other side of the half pipe to do it all over again.
Ski-jumpers are also nuts. Sliding straight down a long slope to an upward-curved ramp that sends them flying high into the air, flying upwards of 600+ feet before landing, hopefully safely and not breaking any bones.
Personally, I like it right here with my feet on the ground.
* * * * *
Finally, I wonder how Bob Costas’ eye is doing?