Well, as it seems that nothing lasts forever, my reliable home computer decided to give up the ghost this past week. A hard drive failure, as far as I can tell.
The good news is that, being reasonably intelligent, I back up my hard drive about every six months. The bad news is that my last backup was five and a half months ago. The long Thanksgiving weekend is when I usually schedule the annual full backup…. The good news is that the drive failed slowly enough so that I was able to download my “mission critical” files and other key personal documents (these blog posts, a couple of media files that I acquired recently, the file where I store all my passwords and login information) that get changed and updated frequently to a flash drive before the thing died completely.
So it’s off to get a new desktop PC…..
It’s nice to know that Major League Baseball has arranged its annual calendar so that we never go more than a week or two without something to talk about. Less than two weeks after the last awards are given out, the Hall of Fame ballot is announced.
This year, we’ve got a couple of no-brainers in the first-timers (Mariano Rivera and Roy Halliday), some likely to make it in this time (Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina). the usual problematic holdovers (e.g. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds), and a whole bunch of other very good players who may or may not get in, but deserve some respect and honor.
Just an aside: Some of the criticism of Edgar Martinez is that he was a designated hitter, and as technically a ‘part-time’ player, he shouldn’t be included among The Greats. But Mariano Rivera, who was also a ‘part-time’ player, is nonetheless one of the All-Time Best? I don’t get it….
Then there are the “one and done” guys, who probably won’t last more than one year on the ballot. They made it to the ballot by being good enough to last ten or more years in the major leagues.
There’s really not much to say about some of them, but let’s give them a salute anyway.
This year’s series wasn’t as exciting as the previous two (or even three), but then it would be hard to come close to the fun and excitement of those two. Of course, there’s always stuff to say about a World Series, no matter how many games it lasts or who wins.
Seems that every time the World Series comes around, there’s always a little talk about the players that are appearing there for the first time. I got to thinking. Really great players are often on great teams; the kind that win pennants on a regular basis. And they have careers that are long enough so that even by chance, they might wind up in the World Series. We even take it as granted that being in a World Series – even if your team doesn’t win – is one of the key factors in being a “great” player.
So I got to wondering. What great players had the bad luck to never be on a pennant winning team, and therefore never appear in a Fall Classic? Heck, you could probably go through the Hall of Famers and put together a full nine-player team….
If, like me, you are “of a certain age”, you can readily remember how Halloween used to be very different.
And if you’re feeling cynical, you can easily come up with a list like this.
THEN: Go into the attic or basement, looking for the box that has the kids’ sweaters. Hope it doesn’t take long to find, and that the sweaters still fit. Wonder where you put the Halloween decorations.
NOW: Go online to find the this year’s fashion in Fall clothing for the kids. Pay extra for priority shipping, because your kids need them NOW. Check the return policy in case they screw up and you have to return them. Don’t order Halloween decorations; you don’t want to max out your credit cards right now.
There’s a lot of press coverage this week about Jamie Lee Curtis and the remake/reboot of the classic horror film Halloween.
Now Curtis is indeed a fine actress, and her performance in the original Halloween did indeed contribute greatly to its success….
But her entire reputation as a “scream queen” rests only on that single role, in that movie and all its sequels and remakes and reboots and rehashings…. I hardly see a single character, no matter how many films you portrayed that character in, as sufficient justification to elevate one to the highest level in the Pantheon of Horror.
Especially when true horror aficionados know who their Empress is.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the One and Only “Gothic Girl”:
Some six months ago, just before Opening Day, I posted my predictions for this year’s baseball season. Rather than do the obvious thing and talk about who I thought would win their divisions (it was too obvious and easy), I decided to offer my prognostications on which teams would finish last.
Let’s see how I did.
There’s a great race in the National League that’s going to make September really exciting. No, not the NL West division race, nor the NL Wild Card race. But the battle for the Cy Young Award. There are three prime candidates to choose from. Jacob deGrom of the Mets, Aaron Nola of the Phillies, and Max Scherzer of the Nationals. The decision is probably going to come down to what you think counts the most in considering an “outstanding pitcher”.
(NOTE: All stats current as of 9/6/18, prior to the start of the day’s games. Numbers in parentheses indicate their ranking in the NL)
As always with a vacation, there’s a bunch of miscellaneous items of interest that can’t really be collected into a specific “theme”. The places are widely scattered geographically, they’re small enough so that detailed posts aren’t called for, etc. Then there are all the general observations about the city and local customs.
This final post on Amsterdam will cover all of that, since you’re probably as tired of reading about it as I am of writing it.
One of the nicer areas in Amsterdam is the neighborhood known as “De Wallen”, as it is the area around the Voorburgwal and Achterburgwal canals, roughly between the Oude Kerk (“Old Church”, which dates back to the 1200s) and Nieuwmarket Square. It’s a surprisingly pleasant residential area, with trees along the canals, little alleys and side streets, and a bunch of bars and night spots all less than a kilometer away from the Central Station and about two minutes from the Damrak.
“De Wallen” is what you call it when you don’t want to say you’re going to the Red Light District…..