April 24 Permalink
Went to the National Zoo. Locals will tell you that if you take the Metro, get off at Cleveland Park. This way you walk downhill. On the way home, you go to Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams-Morgan so you continue downhill.
The Kennedy-Warren is a great old art deco apartment along the walk. It's undergoing renovation with great architectural touches including the row of elephants.
Usually, we see marquee animals like the elephants, lions and tigers. Today, I thought we should go along the Valley Walk and see the birds. Before we got there, we saw Kandula, the two-year-old elephant take a dip in the water.
The birdhouse is now accessible only by a five-minute climb. Uncaged black night crowned herons have colonized the area, nesting in the trees. Whitlock's favorite animal here was the tawny frogmouth from Australia.
As we passed the panda house, we heard one of them call loudly, then run into the building. I don't remember hearing any panda sounds on television. It's also the fastest I've ever seen a panda move in person. The original pair spent most of their time blobbing.
On the walk to the Metro, the Marriott Wardman Park had an overwhelming display of flowers. The picture doesn't do it any justice and it's only about one-fourth of what we saw.
We got home just after the Chicago Fire scored their only goal to beat DC United. This is the first game the Eagles looked really bad. Now I'm worried the team doesn't have the stamina to last a whole game.
Watched the CSI: Miami episode "The Oath". It begins with a young woman being stopped by a police officer who spews blood all over her car. As previously seen, the crime is committed in the dead of night and CSI turns up at noon to investigate the scene.
The dead patrol officer was the target of an internal affairs investigation. He'd been paying a prostitute as an informant to carjacking ring. If the hooker got a john with a nice car, she'd tip off carjackers to this mark and pocket $50 extra bucks. That night the cop paid her to tip him off when the next carjacking would go down. However, the owner of the Mercedes thought he'd play hero and shoot one of the carjackers, which escalated the situation. Also, the Mercedes owner was an ex-sex offender who was not allowed to carry a gun.
In the B-plot, one of the early suspects was actually keeping a pretty illegal in his home. She fights back by stabbing him. He'd been beating her with soap in a laundry bag. Calleigh tips her father off to defend the woman. Calleigh also takes an interest in a young rookie uniform.
The C-plot has an internal affairs officer dating Yelina. She still suspects that Ray's illegitimate daughter is really Horatio's and IA begins an investigation on him.
Went to the Cold Case episode "Greed". In 1985, a securities broker is found dead. Today, one of the victim's proteges is going down for securities fraud and has information on the murder to cut a deal. That lead runs dry.
However, the victim liked young men and one of them, Kip, fell in love with him. Kip's mom Mavis, who'd been married four times also had an affair with the victim. She got disgusted that he slept with the mother and son and killed him.
It was filled with 80s music cliches including Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Karma Chameleon and Dirty Laundry. The victim drove a DeLoren whose gull-wing doors really prove impractical in a driving rainstorm.
April 23 Permalink
Interesting grand strategy from a libertarian viewpoint by Jim Henley. He's backed off since the original posting on nuking North Korea.
The Penguin's out of the hospital, thankfully.
Watched the CSI episode "Bad Words". As a fire burns in a small single family home, the mother, the grandmother and the young boy get out, but the teenaged daughter does not. The mother thought she wasn't supposed to be at home.
The investigation begins with a neighborhood serial arsonist. One of the watchers at both recent fires is a beautiful woman who is openly a pyromaniac, a person who gets sexually excited by fire. They can't pin it on her when none of her matchbook covers can be linked to a match found at the scene.
They considered an accidental origin when the grandmother, not in control of all her faculties, is discovered to be a smoker. However, this theory dies when heating points to the kitchen as the point of origin.
The daughter was the editor of the school newspaper and recently exposed an annual prostitute ritual by the baseball team. The prime suspects had an alibi, gambling in full view of the security cameras. Turns out it was the boy, who couldn't get to sleep and liked to play with matches.
Was the mother a fan of television witches? The children are named Sabrina and Sam (short for Samantha from Bewitched).
In the B-plot, a very large man is found dead in a hotel bathroom. He played Logos, a wordgame similar to Scrabble. The suspects are his opponents, one of which is Jason Kravitz, the former Practice lawyer who went to high school with my sister. He really hasn't aged well. The victim pissed off his killer with an unsportsmanlike play. The victim was forced to swallow some letter tiles in the bathroom and choked on one of them.
Went on to the Tripping the Rift episode "2001 Space Idiocies". Chode fulfills a contract to erect a black monolith on a planet inhabited by the peaceful, agrarian Kubrickians. The monolith is a trojan horse for Darth Bobo and his clown stormtroopers to exploit the planet.
Six wants to rescue the Kubrickians for moral reasons, Chode because the Dark Clowns will be making a much bigger profit off the planet than what they paid him. The Kubrickans love T'nuk because they're into four-legged females. Six constructs a whore tent to occupy the stormtroopers.
Whip is left in command of the ship, the Jupiter 42, and holds a wild party. Darth Bobo insinuates himself on board as a Jamaican DJ and plants the HAL computer. When the crew escapes the cluthces of the Clowns, HAL refuses to follow even Bobo's orders, responding with,"I'm afraid I can't do that Dave," regardless of the name of the requester.
As the ship's orbit decays, the Confederation appears just in the nick of time to save them and eject the Clowns. They leave a white monolith dedicated by a Kirk-like official, complete with needless pauses. This monolith, on the other hand, conquers with capitalism.
April 22 Permalink
Ravens' Fuller Arrested on Gambling Charges. The Cougars strike again. So d'ya hear that the Ravens will be moving their training camp from Westminster to Jessup?
Did some editing of Silver Screen Test and found a huge mistake that nobody bothered to tell me about while it was happening. I guess if you look like you know what you're doing, your force of personality makes no one question you. That's when none of your subordinates bothers to tell you there really aren't any weapons of mass destruction.
April 21 Permalink
Creationism appears to assume a deliberately deceptive creator. And if the supreme being should choose to be deliberately deceptive about such a trivial point, why can't there be other deceptions by the creator?
The Bible or any book cannot be more authoritative than nature itself, because it was created by humans, who have a history of deception. Nature, on the other hand, is a direct product of the creator, without any intervention by humans, except for things like Mount Rushmore, selective breeding and genetically engineered spinach.
April 20 Permalink
Does Matthew Lesko know about this? Now you can look at smut and get paid by the government for it!
This was an incredible game. At this level of play, it's almost impossible to be a man down with 30 minutes to play and win by two goals. Chelsea was on the defensive the whole second half despite being a man up. Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri is frequently taunted by fans with,"You won't be here this summer." He responds with,"I won't be here in May." Now I wonder if he'll even be on the bench for the home leg.
Watched the Tripping the Rift episode "Totally Recalled". In the main plot, Gus has been recalled and replaced with the new Gus XP. No sub-text there. However, the XPs are planning to take over the galaxy, starting with Chode's ship. Chode's grandfather is Benito visiting. Gus teleports himself back onboard and he and Benito defeat the XP with toothpaste.
The robot manufacturer is Baltar Industries straight out of the original Battlestar Galactica. Baltar himself looks like Lucifer, Baltar's Cylon liaison voiced by Jonathan Harris. When Chode finds himself trapped in the turbolift, he takes up the cliché of having to navigate the ductwork to defeat XP.
Went on to the Angel episode "Underneath". The main plot involves Angel, Spike and Gunn retrieving Lindsey from a private Wolfram and Hart hell dimension. It looks like the suburbs complete with zero lot line contemporary homes, except that every day, he's tortured by a creature in the basement. Gunn stays behind as personal atonement for allowing Fred to be taken over by Illyria.
Adam Baldwin appears as Hamilton, the new liaison with the senior partners. Lorne is drinking over "the girl he loves," but I don't think this is meant romantically as he's gay.
Wesley and Illyria have an interesting conversation. She wants to go to other worlds, but she's already been weakened by her human body, so she's trapped on Earth.
Mercedes McNabb is now on the opening credits. Amy Acker's opening credits are entirely in blue and not as Fred.
April 19 Permalink
Now my name is attached to a famous lawsuit.
From Gregg Easterbrook.
My impression is that parents are outsourcing children's parties away from the home so that they don't have to clean up before the party and then clean up a second time as soon as everyone leaves. Destination parties also impose time limits: If you've got the laser-tag party room from 1:30 to 2:30, then the kids have to wolf down the pizza and cake on a schedule, they get picked up at exactly 2:30 and that's that.
That pretty much sums it up.
April 18 Permalink
Freddy Adu seemed a little too happy yesterday to score his goal even in a loss. DC United looks stronger than last year and not snake-bitten. Looks like Sunderland will have to play-off for promotion, rather than capturing an automatic slot.
While I cut the grass, I came upon a toad who didn't seem scared by the lawnmower. He got into the garage through an open door and I felt too busy to chase him out. On Whitlock's recommendation, I left the garage doors open until I couldn't find the toad anymore.
Watched the Tru Calling episode "Two Pair". A dead college student, the victim of a mugging, calls for help from Tru, but nothing happens. She begins to investigate her life, then returns to the morgue where a middle-aged man's body comes in, a suicide. He calls for help and the rewind begins.
Tru tracks down the man, whose name is Geoffrey, as failed businessman who creates several identities to stay one step ahead of the creditors. Harrison follows the girl, Melissa, an honor student who teaches a math class. They both follow their charges to the same high stakes poker game. Geoffrey needs the money to pay his bills, Melissa to pay her tuition. Tru decides Harrison must win money from Melissa, to prevent her from getting mugged, then lose it to Geoffrey.
After the plan is carried through, Harrison has to stop Melissa from committing suicide and Tru saves Geoffrey from a mugger who was one of the other gamblers. However, someone called Melissa's parents about her money problems and, in shame, Melissa kills herself anyway. We are led to believe Jason Priestly made the call. Harrison gets second thoughts abouot being a hero's sidekick.
Peripherally, we learn Davis was married for a year to Haley Clarke. On the night she died, Tru's mother saved Davis by slashing his tires and pumping the gas out of his tank. This is how Davis believes in Tru. Also, Davis is his middle name.
April 17 Permalink
Last night's Knossos book was Mystic River by Dennis Lehane, which was turned into the movie that won Oscars for Sean Penn and Tim Robbins. I was under the weather last night so I didn't make the meeting, but I finished the book today.
Three boys grow up together in lower-class Boston. A seminal event in 1975 changes their lives. Then in 2000, one of their daughters is killed, investigated by the second of them with the third as a prime suspect.
It's a compelling read once you get past the desperately pointless existence of labor-class life. The pace picks up when the novel takes the form of a police procedural. In the end, some of the main characters are a little too comfortable with morally reprehensible decisions.
The Bostonians are about 36 years old, but the movie cast actors 5-10 years older. Are there are actors in the age range with the perceived gravitas to handle these roles? Kiefer Sutherland, John Cusack and Alexis Denisof are some quick examples that could fit the bill. Also, the white trooper sergeant leading the investigation has become Laurence Fishburne in the movie.
Watched the Wonderfalls episode "Pink Flamingos". Jaye is supposed to go out to breakfast with her father but he has to bring in the trash cans first. Meanwhile, the lawn flamingos tell her to get off her ass. Ask she tries to shut them out, the car accidentally runs over her Dad, breaking his leg.
Meanwhile her high school graduating class is having it's 6 1/2 year reunion. Given that they graduated in 1998, it's only been 5 1/2 years, but who's counting? Gretchen, whom Jaye absolutely hated, was senior class president and is running the reunion. Gretchen is like Harmony, one of those annoying blondes I wouldn't give a moment to unless they were personally servicing me. Gretchen married a wealthy Jewish businessman.
At first the objects tell Jaye to help Gretchen, then to destroy her. In the destroy phase, Jaye throws a fruity drink on Gretchen's dress. While the queen cries in the ladies room, a boy who stalked her and joined the Marines, convinces Gretchen to leave her husband.
When Jaye gives a call to the husband, he gets into a car accident, but falls in love with a Jewish doctor at the scene. Eric's wife calls when Jaye is using his cellphone and she tells her he's sexually servicing her. When she relates this incident to Eric, fireworks go off in his eyes.
Jaye's sister Sharon has an encounter in her parents house with a woman she's been trying to arrange a date with for weeks. The trip to hospital revealed a heretofore undiscovered clot that could have killed the father.
Went on to the Tripping the Rift episode "The Devil and Some Guy Named Webster. Bob the computer is not paying attention when the ship is being sucked into a black hole. The devil turns up and gets Chode to sell his soul in exchange for being saved. Of course, the catch was that the devil with take the soul in just 6 hours. The devil takes the form of actors who have played the devil such as Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson.
Six, Gus and T'nuk look for Daniel Webster to get Chode off, so they set off for 1893, by which time Daniel Webster would have been dead for 41 years. A malfunction sends them to 1983 where they end up on the set of Webster and kidnap Emmanuel Lewis.
The jury for the trial includes Attila, Hitler, Richard Nixon and Joan Crawford. Webster wins the case when he gets the devil to confess that the black hole was never real.
Finished off with the Cold Case episode "Late Returns". On Election Night in 1992, a campaign worker is dumped off the Ben Franklin Bridge. Today, a man is found dead in his driveway. He was obsessed with that unsolved murder.
A high level Philadelphia campaign official had a relationship with the dead woman. Today, he's a congressman and we strongly suspect his sister. The siblings share the secret that their mother was a prostitute and that they had a sexual relationship. When the girl discovers the secret he pushes her down stairs and the siblings dump the body. The obsessed murder victim killed recently was the girl's biological father whom the sister had killed when he got too close.
The sister cops to both murders and city officials tell the cops to lay off. With no Miranda warnings, the congressman confesses. Whitlock thinks that in today's environment a political opponent would have found out about the prostitute mother and exploited it during the campaign.
April 16 Permalink
Some people have way too much time on their hands.
Watched the Tru Calling episode "The Getaway". Tru has to save Michelle Carey, the reporter stalking her when she gets shot in the diner. The shooter spent the day holding up places by taking a female hostage. So Tru calls in the location of the first robbery, but the presence of police spooks the robber. At the location of the second robbery Tru discovers that the "hostage" is an accomplice. We learn that the couple are just thrill-seekers. The woman tries to hold diner, but is stopped by an undercover cop and and a squadron of uniforms.
Tru finally relents to Michelle and tells the truth. She doesn't believe Tru.
In the B-plot, Harrison takes Lindsey to an expensive restaurant for their three-month anniversary. He lost all his money on the horses and he fakes choking on a bone to get his meal comped. In the rewind, Jason Priestly accompanies Harrison to the betting parlor and wins him a ton of money. At dinner, Lindsey is annoyed by Harrison talking incessantly of Jack. I don't like the character played by Jason Priestly.
April 15 Permalink
The local Fox affiliate was doing a remote this morning from my fitness center. I saw José, the guy who signed me up for the place, demonstrating martial arts in the aerobics room for a bunch of elementary school-age girls. It probably had to do with the Girls Sports Expo this Saturday. I had to kick Holly Morris off the abdominal machine so I could use it. In this picture, it's behind two other pieces of equipment, to the left of the window. Holly talked to her technicians about an upcoming series called "Good Golly, Where's Holly?" as a local take-off on Where in the World is Matt Lauer?
Watched the Century City episode "A Mind is a Terible Thing to Lose". In the A-plot, a man with severe mental retardation got a neural implant that enabled him to have normal intelligence and above average memory. Now, he's suffering the side effects which will likely result in death within six months. If the implant is removed, he will live, but his brain ability will revert to its previous state. His wife is suing him to become his guardian. It becomes a quality of life issue. The implication is she would have the implant taken out. However when she wins the case, it's not really clear what will happen.
In the B-plot, a woman is being sued by a one-night stand who discovered she has a penis. It's a cosmetic surgery that gives both men and women new confidence, but the member is likely non-functional. I got a huge laugh with the disclaimer from the commercial,"Offer not valid in Tennessee," given recent events. Russell Hornsby, neither a doctor nor a Cougars running back represents the gentleman on the other side. It is revealed that the man is taking a large estrogen treatment and the judge throws out the case.
In the C-plot, Tom gets a computerized assistant with the exact same face as Darwin's assistant. Tom's assistant throws his a surprise birthday party and Darwin changes his assistant's face to a stern schoolmarm. Then at the end of the episode, Darwin believes she's the first face of assistant in a bar, but he loses her. Unfortunately, we'll never find out more because the show got cancelled.
I generally believe that the science works in this show, but the legal issues frequently have holes. Tonight, though, I found a couple of scientific difficulties. I don't think an implant can stimulate the brain and automatically increase intelligence. Also, the husband with the implant describes first meeting his wife as she operated a maglev. He talked a little too much and she just told him to put his token in the box. First of all, a maglev would probably be a closed system where you'd pay when you get into the system, not next to the driver. It wouldn't make sense to put valuable cash-equivalents in a mobile location, protected only by the driver, rather than in a more secure location.
A larger legal problem was brought up by the husband's lawyer. His parents left him $5 million for his care that he never touched. the lawyer implied that this might be a motivation for the wife to file suit. However, she would have control of the money especially if the husband died, so I don't know why it was even brought up.
In 2030, the characters say that Oprah Winfrey is President of the United States but the closed-captioning says it's Christina Aguilera.
April 14 Permalink
Got an e-mail from Justin Gilstrap that the Penguin is still in intensive care, but is in good spirits.
April 13 Permalink
James Dinan has posted over at Yahoo! Quizbowl Sports that we should now harass Colin Montgomerie as the Best Golfer Never to Win a Major.
April 12 Permalink
There was an electrical fire between Cleveland Park and Woodley Park on the Red Line this morning that prevented travel between Van Ness and Farragut North. Just as we got out of Shady Grove, the operator told us the train would only go as far as Woodley Park, but that soon changed to Van Ness. At Van Ness, there were two buses that soon became five buses to take us to Dupont Circle, so the wait there was only five minutes. However, once the bus got to Dupont Circle, the people who got off first were told to get back on the bus.
About half the bus got off at Farragut North, while I got off with the rest of the bus at Farragut West. The driver himself didn't know exactly where the Farragut West entrance was relative to Farragut North. This made things more complicated for me, since I didn't know the bus driver wouldn't go any further until it was too late. So I rode a Blue Line train to Metro Center the switched to the Red Line. I was only a half-hour late, but that wiped out my morning workout.
A note on Penguin in the City from James Dinan.
In the parking lot of Giant, a van backed into me in the driving rain. He was moving too slow. There didn't seem to be any damage to either vehicle.
April 11 Permalink
Had Easter dinner at my parents' house with carryout Chinese food. After dinner, Miranda and her two cousins did an eight-song revue as "The Three Pop Stars". Didn't I tell you they looked like a band? One of Miranda's numbers involved mumbling her ABCs by not quite allowing her lips to come together at all. She followed by singing her "ZYXs", which of course involves singing the alphabet backwards.
We discovered that last Friday, Miranda and Victoria engaged in some unauthorized mutual hair cutting. Miranda's hair came off fine. Victoria's hair needed some professional repair.
When we got home, we watched the end of the Giants-Padres game. Jon Miller wore a black suit and black shirt with a white tie. Whitlock thought he looked like a Hostess cupcake.
Now that Phil Mickelson has won the Masters, could somebody please tell me who is the new reigning "Best Golfer Never to Win a Major"?
April 10 Permalink
AdUnited came out of the Home Depot Center tonight with a draw that they should have won. Tracking back to one of Matt's comments:
Among some hardcore quiz players there's a sentiment that "upsets" (defined as the worse team defeating the better team, where the definitions of "worse" and "better" aren't very precise) should never happen, and that if questions were ideally written then they never would happen.
In baseball, basketball and football, the winning team plays better more than 90% of the time. Whether that will always be the better team if more games were played is another issue entirely. It seems to me that in soccer, with the low scoring, it's more likely that a team that didn't really play better walks away with a tie or sometimes even the victory. It's frustrating when you're rooting for a team on the short end.
April 9 Permalink
It was a CSI night starting with the CSI: Miami episode "Deadline". Two well-dressed men enter what appears to be a crack house. The conversation reveals that one of them is a newspaper reporter, Josh Dalton. After a knock on the door, shots ring out through the door.
There is one body, which belongs to an aide to city councilman. Dalton continues to take notes as he tells the police what he saw. The journalist was working on a story concerning the oxycontin trade. The aide knew about it from getting the drug for his boss. Fingerprints on the windowsill lead to a suspect, whose fingerprints also appear on a plastic bag with gunshot residue on it. He saw two guys in suits, freaked out and thought the feds were coming.
Halfway through this investigation, Dalton turns over notes, that, through handwriting investigation, turns out to belong to another reporter, Amy James. Horatio tells Dalton to call James and she answers her cellphone, groaning in pain. They track the GPS signal of the cellphone to a stolen car. When they open the trunk, James is already dead. Turns out she found out that Dalton earlier story where gunrunners used cruise ships to smuggle drugs was fabricated out of whole cloth. Dalton killed her when she discovered the truth.
Unfortunately, there were many holes in the plot. Why did Dalton turn over James' notes when it would incriminate him? They never showed him putting her body in the trunk.
Fortunately, there was the CSI episode "Bad to the Bone". A big guy at a casino is found dead. He was beaten only with fists by just one person. Security cameras find he had a run-in at the craps table with a much smaller man, whom they arrest. When Grissom takes nail samples from this guy Walter, he attacks Grissom, requiring nightstick intervention by four uniforms that results in Walter's death.
The autopsy identifies enlarged heart as the cause of death and Walter's sister Beth, played by Megan Fellows, isn't surprised he's dead. Although the death of the big guy at the casino is closed, Grissom still wants to investigate the motel that Walter ran. Walter was pack rat, rarely throwing much of anything.
Warrick and Grissom find a woman's skeleton beneath concrete with a related male's DNA in her pelvic bone. Archie reconstructs a face from the skull. Catherine finds a license and a picture of a pregnant woman. She left her husband while still pregnant and he never filed a missing persons report because he thought she'd never come back. The Dear John letter the husband got appeared not to come from Walter, but from his sister Beth. Turns out even as he killed the mother, he gave the baby to his sister, who treats him as her own.
April 8 Permalink
Following up on Matt Bruce's Who's on First post. I found inclusion of this routine in Ken Burns' Baseball not as meaningful as the George Carlin Football vs. Baseball monologue. After all, the latter is really an insight into the two sports while the former is not as shown by the next two examples.
I think it was the Firesign Theater who had a routine where a concert promoter goes to a newspaper to place an ad for concert featuring the Who, Yes and the Guess Who. You can guess how that went. Finally, the exasperated advertising editor tells the promoter to write down the names of the bands. The promoter replies,"If I could write, I wouldn't have to steal this sketch."
More in Miranda's neighborhood, Between the Lions had a cartoon of a summer camp where are all the characters are animals. One particular counselor is taking roll for his kids with names that are the beginnings of questions: Who, What, etc. When he finally figures it out (because they have their names on their t-shirts), he begins with "How," but is interrupted by How who's sorry he's late.
April 7 Permalink
More on the passing of Packy from the Philadelphia Enquirer via The Deadball Era
The Philadelphia Inquirer
April 6 Permalink
Posted on Thu, Feb. 26, 2004
'Pete' Cera, 86; worked for Phillies
By Gayle Ronan Sims
Inquirer Staff Writer
Pasquale "Pete" Cera, 86, the beloved Phillies clubhouse assistant who one manager said "should be remembered in Philadelphia as the greatest guy in baseball history," died Tuesday at Hazleton (Pa.) General Hospital.
To many, Mr. Cera was the Phillies. From 1974 until he retired in 1998, he was a trainer, traveling secretary, clubhouse man, manager's helper, players' friend - and a combination mother, father and favorite uncle. And for 36 years before coming to the majors, he was a hero to hundreds of ballplayers in the minors, primarily with Phillies farm teams.
Former Phillies manager Frank Lucchesi was a big fan of Mr. Cera's. The men he most admires are "Frank Sinatra, Joe DiMaggio and Pete Cera," Lucchesi said yesterday.
In 1998, the year he retired, Mr. Cera was the first recipient of the Richie Ashburn Special Achievement Award, which is given annually to the Phillies employee who shows the most loyalty, dedication and passion for the game.
Mr. Cera's six decades in professional baseball began after he graduated from Hazleton High School in 1938. He worked as a batboy, groundskeeper and equipment manager for the Boston Red Sox' farm club in Hazleton. He earned $5 a week. When that team moved to Scranton in 1938, Mr. Cera moved with it.
The only three years of his adult life he ever spent away from baseball were during World War II, from 1942 to 1945, when he was with the Army building bridges in the Pacific.
When his hitch was up, he returned to the minors, working in Scranton in the Washington Senators organization.
Mr. Cera, who completed trainers' school in Barto, Fla., on the GI Bill, joined the Phillies organization in 1953.
He worked in Williamsport, Pa., Reading and Little Rock, getting to know the players and managers he would see in the majors.
He became lifelong friends with Dick Allen, whom Mr. Cera met in 1960, when Allen was a youngster playing in Clearwater, Fla., in the Phillies organization. That was before the civil-rights movement, and Allen, who was right out of high school and one of the few African Americans in the Phillies organization, needed a friend.
Throughout his career, Allen said, he would head straight to Mr. Cera whenever he came to the ballpark.
"He was my best friend," Allen said. "He washed your socks... He shined your shoes. He checked on curfew. He did everything."
"I thank God that Pete walked through my life. He was a great influence on me through tough segregated times. He was there for all of us, no matter what color. He stands among the tallest men in my career," Allen said.
Lucchesi, who started working with Mr. Cera in the minors in the 1950s and managed the Phillies in the early 1970s, said: "Pete should be remembered in Philadelphia as the greatest guy in baseball history."
A devout Catholic, Mr. Cera greeted the players each Sunday by asking if they went to church. "You better go or we aren't going to win," he said.
Mr. Cera saw managers come and go, and in his later days he was in charge of keeping the uniforms clean.
Mr. Cera, who never married, lived in Hazleton with his two bachelor brothers during off-season. During the season, he lived with a family near Veterans Stadium, behind left field on Juniper Street. Mr. Cera, who never got his driver's license, walked to work. On game days, he arrived at the stadium at 6:30 a.m. and stayed until midnight.
Mr. Cera is survived by brothers Frank, Agustus and Anthony.
My garage door is having some problems due to the electric eye. It's less than two years old, so it should be covered by the warranty still.
April 5 Permalink
Some people blame the planets, but it helps to know you're not living other people's lives. By Ron Pondisico:
A friend of mine rented a new place. His moving date was April 1. Things looked good for his move and everything seemed to be on track. He hired a few emigrant workers to help load and drive three box trucks. On moving day the men backed the trucks onto the front lawn of his old house, to the front door. They loaded the trucks with furniture and boxes. It rained most of the day, but the moving team didn't seem to notice. 3:00 rolled around and the trucks were filled. They went to the front of the trucks, and discovered that the rain had softened the ground sinking the trucks into the dirt, up to the wheel wells.
My friend was forced to call a tow truck. When the tow truck arrived, it tried to pull the fully loaded moving trucks out of the mud, but it wasn't strong enough to do the job. So my friend had to call a second tow truck that was large enough to pull the trucks out.
The second tow truck finally arrived and started to pull the first moving truck out. All of a sudden, a loud noise was heard coming from the engine compartment of the moving truck. It had snapped its fan belt. They towed the trucks out of the mud and called it a day until they could return with a new fan belt.
Day Two ... The emigrant workers returned and fixed the moving truck, eventually getting all 3 trucks on the road. The trucks looked like they had driven through a swamp with mud all over them after being stuck on the lawn the day before.
Driving down the highway, the moving team got pulled over by the police because the trucks looked so dirty you couldn't tell if they had license plates. A policeman asked the drivers for their licenses. It turned out that two of the men didn't have licenses and the third driver had a warrant out for his arrest for back child support. The police handcuff the drivers and took them to jail.
Now my friend was alone on the highway, with all of his worldly possessions on the 3 moving trucks with no drivers. He was now forced to drive the trucks to his new place by himself. Last time I talked to him he was in a taxi on his way back to get the second truck, after finally dropping off the first. I'll let you know how he made out and who he hired to unload the 3 trucks.
Finished watching Jesus. Instead of the four-hour mini-series originally released, this was a two-hour movie of the last half. Unlike Judas, this program actually seemed concerned with religious issues, rather than just overthrowing the Romans.
Overall, it had the feel of a freshman philosophy class. The Sermon on the Mount is interrupted by hecklers with actual funny lines. Satan makes an appearance in the Garden of Gethsemane with an indecipherable European accent and wearing a modern suit. He shows Jesus the Crusades and an unspecified 20th Century World War. Jesus selecting the apostles from the multitude uncomfortably looked like the picking the cheerleading squad. Gary Oldman plays Pontius Pilate like Hugh Grant, asiding to an aide just before washing his hands,"Now watch this final touch."
Saw the first season closer of Water Rats entitled "Knocker". Harrison spills the beans to Rachel that Internal Affairs is investigating him for Kevin Holloway's death. The rookie female constable finds the name of the missing Swedish backpacker and Knocker kills the Swede with Frank and Brady from IA just a step behind.
Brady and Frank give their evidence to Rachel and eventually she goes over to their side. She now feels very uncomfortable about have her son around Knocker. The last witness is a bridesmaid at a wedding. Frank and Rachel force Knocker to run before he can kill her. Eventually Knocker beats Frank down in a cemetery and Rachel is forced to kill Knocker.
Whitlock thought that with all the money Knocker had embezzled, he could have skipped out to a foreign country before there was enough evidence to extradite him instead of leaving a trail of dead witnesses. I guess he really loved Rachel because that was all that was keeping him in Australia.
In the B-plot, the Nemesis crew keeps going out to an island to retrieve a woman in false labor. I don't know why she has to keep returning to the island after the second false alarm. After that, leave her in a hospital or at least with a friend on the mainland. As expected the constables are forced to make a delivery afloat.
Don't know when the show will return to MHz. Hopefully, they will pick up with the next season.
April 4 Permalink
Did taxes. Made some bookmarks. Sunderland lost to Millwall, so there goes Europe next year. Sam Ryan makes a surprisingly good sideline reporter for baseball. Some early irises are out.
April 3 Permalink
It's not Final Four Day, but Freddy Adu debut day for me. He didn't score any goals, but United won anyway. Bobby Convey missed a totally open net, which I wonder whether it will affect his status overseas. He's looking like Shawn Reaves, Harrison from Tru Calling.
The broadcast improved greatly with Lorrie Fair as sideline reporter instead of that bimbo, Veronica Paysse. Lorrie may be no better than Eric Dickerson in the end, but at least she knows soccer.
April 2 Permalink
Watched the Century City episode "Love and Games". A high school shortstop who lost his eye in a farming accident has it replaced with a bionic eye. No one wants to draft him because the majors don't allow artificial replacements. Even though he could have had superhuman eyesight, he asked only for standard human eyesight so he wouldn't have an unfair advantage. Finally, the expansion San Fernando Valley Coyotes draft him with their last pick.
I really don't see where the majors have a case to bar him. It's not like an eye gives the same advantage as an artificial leg or arm. The only reasonable argument is that because the artificial eye is directly connected to the brain, rather than to the optic nerve, signals get to his brain faster, but I don't think it's enough to make a difference. This case is before only a judge, not a jury, and he decides in favor of the ballplayer.
In the year 2030, the rubber is 62 feet from home plate, catchers wear Mike Piazza's silver chest protectors, batting helmets look like stormtrooper helmets on Endor, powder blues unis make a comeback and the Expos play in Havana, which means Bud Lite and Angeloser would rather have them in Cuba than Washington. There should be independent leagues where the player could continue to participate instead of remaining idle. Since he'd be quite a gate attraction, the majors would then pick up once they realized they were losing the revenue. Maybe there'll be parallel athletic competitions in the future that are "restriction free" - steroids, performance enhancing drugs and bionic parts all legal.
There's a scene where one of his teammates spikes him in practice. One of the coaches should have reprimanded the spiker or at the very least should be shown condoning the episode. Martin Constable notes that there's seems to be a lot of press, but you don't see anything like what follows Ichiro around.
In the B-plot, a husband and wife are divorcing over their pre-nuptial agreement that specified "no family". His parents, grandparent and great-grandparent have moved in and she takes this as a violation of the agreement. He believed that "no family" just meant "no children". When a security camera reveals she might have wanted children in breach of the agreement, the couple settle to have both children and the rest of the extended family in the home.
The security camera in one scene showed a parent entering when the couple was having sex. Don't these guys ever lock the door?
In the C-plot, several of Darwin's ex-assistants sue him for his abusive behavior that you think he'd have evolved beyond by now. Regardless of how much the firm offers them, they demand not to have a non-disclosure clause. When the firm offers less money, but promises that Darwin will never have a human assistant again, they agree.
Went on to the Cold Case episode "Resolutions". In 1999, we see two couples making resolutions before 2000 comes on. Then one of the men stumbles down a street and gets hit by a car.
Fast forward to the future, we see an AA member coming forward with her drunken memory of having hit someone with blood and a dent on her car the next day. A witness didn't come forward back then, says he saw a brown Continental drive away from the scene, pointing to a local bully. First the bully says his car was stolen, then admits he had it stolen as an insurance fraud. The guy driving it claims the guy was already lying the road when he hit him.
So the AA member is cleared, but now she really wants a drink. Apparently the guilt of having killed someone has kept her sober the past four years.
The victim was poisoned with a heart medication. Suspicion lands on the widow who has married the husband of the other couple. The new husband does a very good job of convincing the cops he had nothing to do with it, all the way to poisoning himself. Eventually he drives away, is cornered in a truck, then kills himself.
April 1 Permalink
This year the April Fool's joke was played on me by the squirrels. They had eaten through the rope on an elegant cedar bird feeder we had. Whitlock was able to get it replaced with a metal chain. Now through either rust or the squirrels' perseverance, they've pulled the metal arm that held feeder completely out of the tree. I'll investigate further when the rain stops.