Archive for the ‘sports’ Tag

08-08-2015 Journal – A Friday Seaside Lunch!   Leave a comment

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Yesterday was an odd day. After my forty-five minute workout I completed what few chores I had scheduled, changed clothes, and was off to do some shopping.  At 11:30 I received a message from my better-half who’d just left work and was headed home. I no sooner stepped from my car than it was decided we’d be spending the next few hours exploring along the seacoast and looking for a restaurant. We were hoping for a place we’d never before visited. Our travels brought us to Cape Porpoise, Maine located in a small harbor near the Whale Island lighthouse. We’ve been in this area many times before but never had occasion to visit any of the three small restaurants located there.

I saw a sign, "The Ramp", with a walkway extending behind a larger restaurant down towards the water. It was a tiny Bar & Grill tucked behind and under the other restaurant.

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It had a sports theme and the walls and ceilings were covered with memorabilia from just about everywhere. Football helmets, autographed pictures, political signs, basketball hoops, and a helleva lot more.  It was one of the coolest bars I’ve ever visited and I’ve been in a few.

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We had a couple of drinks while we waited for our food and the place was packed with people. Fortunately for us we’d been seated just before the big Friday afternoon crowd arrived. The wait for a seat was close to forty minutes but nobody seemed to mind. You could lounge with a drink along the water waiting for your table.

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I ordered a plate of Portuguese mussels that were without a doubt the best I’ve ever had. They were swimming in a broth of red chili’s, hot sausage, and herbs. My better-half had the crab cakes which she raved about for the rest of the day.

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The beer was cold, the food delicious, and the help was better than expected considering how busy it was.  We found ourselves making plans to return to this little bistro before we’d finished our first beers.

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‘The Whale Island lighthouse.’

This little place was one of the nicest surprises we’ve had in some time. We’ll be returning very soon to try a few more local brews and delicious food.  The meal was beautifully presented, delicious, and nicely priced. Our check not including the tip was $62.00 and believe me when I say it was money well spent.

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‘You can’t get seafood much fresher than this. Right off the boat.’

 

If you’re ever in the vicinity you should stop by for a nosh. This is one of those hidden little treasures that’s mainly frequented by the locals who know a good thing when they have it.

11-08-2013 Cliques & Bullying   4 comments

What compels almost every group of humans who spend any amount of time together to break into smaller groups based on any number of societal reasons? We have the geeks and jocks, the pretty and not so pretty, the brains and the dummies, the sexually different, and just about anything else you can think of.  One of the worst outcomes of group dynamics is bullying. Whether it’s verbal, physical, emotional, or cyber it continues regardless of the steps taken by our society to stop it. The end results of bullying are ugly and include awful things such as suicides, murders, beatings, and a life long emotional issue for the victims to deal with. Nothing good comes of it.

I’ve experienced most of these things first hand growing up. They started for me in Middle school when I was a short and skinny nerd being bullied by a much older and meaner student and his pals. I dealt with it as best I could until a few years later when I grew about a foot and put on forty pounds. Then all of a sudden their nonsense stopped and they moved on to other smaller and less hostile targets.

In High School I had the misfortune to be socially placed into two different groups.  On one hand I was a jock who lettered in a number of sports but I was also confined to the weirdo category because of my artistic bent. At sporting events it was OK to be seen with me but all of my jock buddies avoided any type of friendship off the field. I was independent enough to deal with it but how well I did is still up for discussion.  If I handled it so well why am I continuing to talk about it after all these years? A good question to be sure but one I really don’t want to answer.  I suspect the scars on any bullying victim never go away completely.

I’m only bringing it up now because of what I observed only a day or so ago. I was riding by a local high school  and classes were letting out. I observed no less than five or six distinct groups standing on the same sidewalk.  They were talking amongst themselves in their own groups but ignoring the others.  I could see the obvious differences immediately, sport related jackets in one group, weird clothing and hats in another, musical instruments in a third and as always a small group of sad looking kids who were the obvious outcast group.  I was immediately transported back to my early days when I was the guy who walked through the many and varied groups wondering why I wasn’t being accepted. It was a little bit of time travel I could have done without.

I have no answers or solutions and apparently no one else does either. I see on TV the reports of student groups standing up and fighting against bullying. They wear their cute t-shirts and attend their cute meetings and accomplish very little.  The people that need to be attending those rallies and listening to the speech’s are the bullies themselves and the school administrators who have the power to discipline them.  The bullies watch those activities and laugh them off with a shrug and a smirk. Then it’s business as usual the very next day.  It takes much sterner consequences by the powers-that-be on the bully’s before we can expect to see any improvement.  Our politically correct school systems make that damn near impossible. Drastic problems require drastic action and doing nothing at all is cowardly and unforgiveable.

10-24-2013   Leave a comment

It’s time for all of you sports experts out there to find out how well or how badly you’ve done? Here are the promised answers that I intend to memorize for my own uses in our local tavern’s weekly trivia contest.  One of these days these factoids will finally pay off and win me a beer or two or three.

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1.  The referee’s yellow flag. Taylor said he felt he deserved it because the ref’s “ threw it against me”  often enough.

2.  Tennis, at the 1900 games in Paris. Charlotte Cooper of Great Britain was the first gold medalist.

3.  New York Giant knuckleballer week Hoyt Wilhelm, in 1952.

4.  Jim Thorpe, in 1970. He did it a second time in 1919. Deion Sanders was the second athlete to accomplish the feat 70 years later, in 1989.

5.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 4657. Other career records he holds include number of minutes played (57,446), points scored (38,387), and field goals scored (15,837). He played from 1969 to 1989.

6.  O.J. Simpson, who racked up 2003 yards for Buffalo in 1973, breaking the previous record of 1863 yards set 10 years earlier by Jim Brown.

7.  Five.

8.  The red brick tenement that was his boyhood home once stood on the site of second base at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium.

9.  Rookie Willie Mays.

10. “Little Warrior”. O’Neal is 7’1" tall.

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Here’s the obligatory joke of the day.  Those of us who are historically Microsoft customers will really appreciate this.

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Microsoft vs. General Motors

A few years ago at a computer expo, Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.

In response to Bill’s comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

  1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.
  2. Every time they repaint the lines in the road, you’ll have to buy a new car.
  3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue.
  4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.
  5. Apple Inc. will make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive – but would run on only five percent of the roads.
  6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "General Protection Fault" warning light.
  7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.
  8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.
  9. Every time GM introduced a new car, car buyers would have to learn to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10.  You’d have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.

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And finally for those of you that love limericks and beer, here’s a rather tame one proving once and for all that it’s possible for limericks to be funny without being too filthy.

There once was a girl named Ann Heuser,

Who swore that no man could surprise her.

But Pabst took a chance,

Found a Schlitz in her pants,

And now she is sadder Budweiser.

10-23-2013   Leave a comment

I think it’s a good day for another trivia quiz with questions about something of which I’m not all that familiar. As I’ve said many times before I’m not a huge sports fan but I do know that many of the readers of this blog are. With that in mind here are 10 fairly difficult sports trivia questions which should challenge even the best sports trivia fanatics.

As always I’ll list the correct answers tomorrow and you can see just how good you really are. I scored a big fat zero on this one. I hope you sports people can at least do better than that. Have fun.

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1.  What souvenir did New York Giant linebacker Lawrence Taylor request from a referee after he played his last game in January 1994?

2.  What was the first sport in which women were invited to compete at the Olympics?

3.  What Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher hit a home run in his first major league at-bat and never hit another?

4.  Who was the first athlete to hit a major league home run and make a professional football touchdown in the same week?

5.  What basketball player racked up the greatest number of personal fouls during his professional career?

6.  Who was the first professional football player to run for more than 2000 yards in a season?

7.  How many baseball gloves can be made from one cow?

8.  Why did the Cincinnati Reds baseball team send an autographed second-base bag to cowboy movie star Roy Rogers?

9.  Who was scheduled to be the next batter when Bobby Thomson hit his famous home run in the 1951 National League playoffs, winning the pennant for the New York Giants?

10. What is the meaning of basketball great Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal’s given Islamic name?

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As you can see I wasn’t kidding, they are tough questions. Check back tomorrow.

10-16-2013   Leave a comment

The Winter season is upon us in everyway except for the snow which will arrive when it’s most inconvenient as always.  Everyone has been slowly abandoning their summer-wear and easing into that ever so attractive triple layered ensemble of t-shirts, sweaters, sweat shirts, gloves, hats, and parkas.  People watching takes an ugly turn every year at this time and I’ll sure miss the bikinis, thongs, short skirts, and beautiful tans.  It’s the worst part of winter for me.

It gets so bad at times that after a few months, usually in February, you might find yourself making a early trip to the local mall to have a coffee and watch the ever increasing numbers of people doing their morning walk. There’s nothing more sad than making an early morning visit to a semi-deserted mall just to watch other idiots trying to make some human contact and to get the hell out of the house for an hour or so.

I’m a little jealous of those folks who can’t wait for the snow to arrive so they have a place to play.  I’m way too clumsy to be a snow bunny.  As a kid I managed to injure myself on a regular basis during every Winter season without even trying too hard.  Skiing was always good for a twisted knee or an up close and personal relationship with the occasional tree or shrub.  Once or twice I was actually able to ski down a hill, knocking over other skiers along the way, and then ending up in a creek with thin ice and really cold water.  We skated on a remote pond for years and without fail I always managed to fall through the ice on a few occasions.

After decades of minor injuries from walking on snow and ice I gave up.  No skiing, no skating, and definitely no snowmobiling.  When my friends in Maine discovered my failures as a snow bunny they began to give me odd looks and began whispering behind my back.  This was the motivation I needed to get serious about resolving my winter issues.  After many years I’ve discovered the only winter activity I’m good at.

As you are certainly aware every ski lodge has things in common with the others.  There’s always a chair lift, snow, a big mountain, and a lodge.  My winter activities this year will be centered primarily around the lodge and it’s varied selection of things to do.  There are lovely rooms to sleep and play in.  There are hot tubs, Jacuzzis, and untold numbers of young and attractive individuals to meet and interact with.  My favorite thing in every lodge is that comfortable bar stool that sits at the end of the bar near the huge picture window. There I can sit, drink, eat, meet, and greet everyone.  The only possible injuries I might suffer would be from an accidental fall from the bar stool which would only involve a spilled drink and possibly a small bruise on my buttocks.  The other and more dangerous injury would be from one of the many skiers I see flying down the mountain just outside my window.  If by chance one of them loses control and crashes through the window, I could be seriously injured.  If I stay alert I should be fine but you never know.  It also requires that I surround myself with a bevy of alcohol drinking buxom women to help break my fall if the worst happens. As always my approach to everything Winter is SAFETY FIRST.

Hopefully this winter I’ll remain uninjured for another year. Along the way I intend to stay as warm and cozy as possible with all of my new female lodge buddies. I promise to do my part when it comes time to do a Jell-O shot or two off the stomach of an enthusiastic  female volunteer.

SKIING RULES

10-07-2013   Leave a comment

I’m not much of a sports fan and watching sports on TV has no attraction to me whatsoever.  I’ve always had better ways of spending my time than watching almost anything sport related except for possibly one thing.  I will occasionally  watch professional golf. Over the years I played a lot of golf with my father. He introduced me to it at age 13 and I played regularly for more than twenty five years with him, his coworkers, and my friends.

This week was the Presidents Cup Tournament and I didn’t watch the entire match but did waste away a few hours vegging in front of the TV.  It took me back to the days when my Dad was still able to play and the fun we had competing against each other.  It was a nice trip down memory lane for me.   As I was watching I began to remember caddying for him in a number of golf tournaments sponsored by his employer and the many pranks I pulled on him while doing so.  With that in mind I did a little searching and found the following stupid caddy remarks which will make any golfer smile.

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#10

Golfer:    "I think I’m going to drown myself in the lake."

Caddy:    "Think you can keep your head down that long?"

#09

Golfer:    "I’d move heaven and earth to break 100 on this course."

Caddy:   "Try heaven, you’ve already moved most of the earth."

#08

Golfer:    "Do you think my game is improving?"

Caddy:    "Yes     . . . . You miss the ball much closer now."

#07

Golfer:   "Do you think I can get there with a 5 iron?"

Caddy:   "Eventually."

#06

Golfer:    "You’ve got to be the worst caddy in the world."

Caddy:    "I don’t think so . . . .That would be too much of a coincidence." 

#05

Golfer:    "Please stop checking your watch all the time. It’s too much of a distraction."

Caddy:    "It’s not a watch – it’s a compass."

#04

Golfer:    "How do you like my game?"

Caddy:   "It’s very good – but personally, I prefer golf.

#03

Golfer:    "Do you think it’s a sin to play on Sunday?

Caddy:   "The way you play, it’s a sin on any day."

#02

Golfer:    "This is the worst course I’ve ever played on."

Caddy:    "This isn’t the golf course . . . . We left that an hour ago."

AND FINALLY #01

Golfer:    "That can’t be my ball, it’s too old."

Caddy:   "It’s been a long time since we teed off, sir."

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Most people think golf is such a very serious pass-time but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  With my Dad and other co-workers it was hilarious at times. I’ll offer this one story and then call this posting finished.

My father was a big, strong, and determined individual.  He was known for his long and accurate drives and could get frustrated  when he was having a bad day.  On one particular occasion he walked to the tee on one of his favorite holes, teed up, and hit the ball so far in the woods it couldn’t be found.  Up until that time it had been a close round but with that shot he lost the match. He proceeded to take his driver, twirled it around his head, and threw it as far as he could into the trees. He then walked off cursing and swearing and never looked back. 

For months afterward as we all played golf on that same course we laughed our asses off every time we came to that hole because his bent and twisted driver could be seen in the top of a nearby tree.  It was just so damn funny. The best part of the prank occurred more than a year later at his retirement dinner when his buddies climbed up that tree, retrieved the club, had it bronzed and mounted on a plaque, and gave it back to him as his retirement gift.

How can you not like golf with good friends like that.

08-28-2013   Leave a comment

Football Season is fast approaching and for those of you who are fanatical, you’re probably already in a serious state of FAN (Football Arousal Narcosis).  You find yourself sexually aroused by wide screen HD televisions, satellite NFL packages, and the occasional busty cheerleaders. I must warn you that you’re playing with fire.  Sometime in January when the end of the season is approaching and the withdrawal starts setting in you may find yourself becoming sexually attracted to Terry Bradshaw.  If that happens proceed directly to rehab, do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollars.

I’m not a sports fanatic in any way, shape, or form.  The only sports I watch religiously are as many games of the Little League World Series as I can. Those games seem more real and genuine to me than watching a bunch of grown men spending more than three hours to play nine innings of baseball for a few million dollars a year and all the steroid and drug enhancements they can consume.  This time of the year is when the pregame and postgame analysis programs kidnap prime time TV and fill the airways with an ungodly number of continuous sports metaphors and clichés.  It makes me just a little crazy.

Unfortunately those metaphors have slowly and insidiously made their way into our daily language.  If you didn’t already know that, WAKE UP.  We have "ballpark figures", "drop back and punt", and "going the whole nine yards". It’s also a sprint, a boxing match, even a demolition derby. It has leaders and trailers, boasts knockout punches, and will go down to the wire, the buzzer, or the final whistle.” Check these out:

“I was blind-sided by all the talk about the mortgage and someone else bought the house before me.”

“Critics of President Obama used bump and run tactics to impede the implementation of a Republican directive.”

“When Tom retired Larry carried the ball for the next 9 months and the project was completed.”

“If we get the new machinery, we will be dancing in the zone in September.”

‘”Paul fumbled the sale when he failed to return the client’s call.”

“The Democrats game plan totally revolved around the promise of jobs.”

“The lawyers decided to settle after a brief huddle.”

“After John’s failure to win the building contract, his colleagues only made things worse with their Monday morning quarterbacking.

“President Obama caves in over and over again. He punts on first down.” 

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg.  As we progress through the season begin listening carefully to the everyday newscasters, pundits, and anyone else speaking to you from your television screen.  You’ll be absolutely amazed.

AND FOR MY LATER FATHER’S BENEFIT – GO STEELERS!

02-03-2013   2 comments

Don’t you just love the month of February?  We get to celebrate Ground Hog Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, Valentines Day, and of course this year, Super Bowl Sunday. I wish I had all of the money spent preparing for and the celebration of a stupid football game.  Do I sound like a sports hater?  I’m not exactly sure but I think I just may be one.  

I played a great deal of sports in my life and thoroughly enjoyed all of those activities.  I had a great deal of success in my endeavors with Little League Baseball, Pony League Baseball, High School Baseball, Basketball and Football, American Legion Baseball, Semi-Pro Baseball, Racquetball, Bowling, and others I’ve probably forgotten.  I’m not bragging but trying to show many of the reasons why I should be a screaming and hollering fanatic for all sports. Why is it that that watching sports except for possibly Little League Baseball is like getting my teeth drilled without Novocain.

As a younger man I often got caught up in following the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers and considered myself a loyal fan.  That being said, I hate watching their games even when they’re winning.  I’ve never been  able to admit my dislike of watching sports because my father would have disowned me.  He was an avid fan of most sports and was quite the accomplished athlete in his own right.

So why?  I’ve only mentioned football because of all the Super Bowl hoop-la over the last week or so.  My better-half who in truth is a fan, a fan of the parties and get-togethers, and interaction with her friends but only a so-so fan of the sport.  I think the great majority of fans are just like her.

I’m reminded of our addiction as a society to sports every time I watch an episode of Spartacus.  I suppose the human race has advanced from the Roman’s version of the Super Bowl held at the Coliseum where gladiators killed Christians, animals, and themselves in great numbers. With crowds of thousands cheering, betting, and orgying their hearts out. They called it then “bread and circuses” which allowed the political caste to maintain control over the great unwashed.

Do you see any similarities?  These days we make it possible for our gladiators, the biggest and strongest of us, to be paid great sums of money to punish themselves and many times damage themselves critically.  The money and glory, as in Rome, were all that ever mattered.  Does that ring a bell for you? It not such an honorable profession when you see a super successful man like Mike Webster, formerly of the four time Super Bowl winning Steelers, suffering from amnesia, dementia, depression, and acute bone and muscle pain after his retirement. He lived out of his pickup truck or in train stations for years between Wisconsin and Pittsburgh.  Webster’s wife finally divorced him six months before his death in 2002. He was only 50 years old.

Of course, Webster was responsible for his own decisions but in my opinion the system was responsible for the pressures of money, fame, performance enhancers, and steroid use that ultimately destroyed him.  Unfortunately he’s not alone.

Maybe that’s what makes celebrating these sports so difficult for me.

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