Battered Bastards of Baseball

Posted July 2, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Baseball, Movies

Tags: , , ,

Well enough dancing for a while. Now, it’s back to baseball. Last night we watched a documentary called “The Battered Bastards of Baseball“. This is the documentary about an independent minor league baseball franchise called the Portland (Oregon) Mavericks.

The team was independent in that it did not have any relationship a major league team. In fact at the time, it was the only team in Minor League Baseball that was independent. The team operated in Portland from 1973-1977. Most of the team consisted of misfits and outcasts. But the people of Portland came to love the team and set attendance records for a minor league team.

Usually minor league teams are told who is on their team by the parent major league team. In this case, the Maviricks held tryouts to see who could do the job,

The team was started by Hollywood actor Bing Russell. Bing Russell was best known for playing the deputy on the TV show Bonanza and Robert on “The Magnificent Seven”. Bing was also the father of Hollywood actor Kurt Russell. Click here for his bio on IMDB.

It was an interesting story, full of interviews with Bing and Kurt Russell. There was a lot footage of games and players. The documentary runs about 1 hour and 20 minutes. It is showing on Netflix.

In the end, MLB seeing that the team was doing so well tried to buy out Bing Russell with $25,000 and replace the team with a AAA Minor League franchise. Bing took MLB to arbitration and eventually win $206,000 for the rights to running a baseball team in Portland.

1SE (1 Second Everyday) for June

Posted July 2, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: 1 Sec Every Day, 1SE

Tags: ,

Here it is.

Flashdance

Posted June 30, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Dancing, Movies, Reviews

Tags: , , ,

Last night was movie night, again. This time we went back to the “dancing” theme and watched “Flashdance” starring Jennifer Beals and Michael Nouri.

This is the story of a young woman named Alex (played by Jennifer Beals) who works as a welder during the day and dances in a bar/night club in the evening. Her dream is to become a professional ballet dancer. So the manager/owner of the construction business (played by Michael Nouri) recognizes her when he sees her perform in the bar.

So it is a simple story. He meets her and tries to ask her out. She initially refuses but eventually gives in. Then he uses his contacts to facilitate getting her an audition with the local ballet organization. So she eventually does the audition and nails it. She gets the ballet gig and they live happily ever after.

So here is a little that Roger Ebert has to say about Flashdance:

I have a friend who has a simple test for a movie: Is this movie as interesting as the same things would be, happening in real life? A lot of movies aren’t, and “Flashdance” sure isn’t. If this movie had spent just a little more effort getting to know the heroine of its story, and a little less time trying to rip off “Saturday Night Fever,” it might have been a much better film.

See RogerEbert.com

So a manager/owner dating one of his employees is a BAD thing. He shouldn’t have done it and she shouldn’t have agreed to go out with him. But that would have ended the story, wouldn’t it.

So the film runs for about 1 hour 35 minutes and is rated “R” for nudity. Once she gets the ballet gig the show is done. Not much else to say. In comparison with the other “dancing” movies that we’ve seen over the past weeks, Flashdance looks decidedly light weight. We enjoyed it but not the best we’ve seen recently

The movie won the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song and had a few other Oscar nominations. The film was released in 1983. That being said, the movie has a fairly decent sound track. Click here for the Amazon entry.

So this was filmed in 1983. I was amused to see many articles of the time, like pay phones or desk phones. Like when was the last time you used a pay phone? Or not see someone with a cell phone in their hand? The film was filmed in Pittsburgh. Nothing much to say about that. Never been there. Not on my bucket list.

Back to baseball movies in a few days.

Hamilton

Posted June 28, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Broadway

Tags: , , , ,

So last Christmas, our son Neil gave us tickets to see “Hamilton” here in LA. We were ecstatic, up until COVID-19 showed up on our doorstep. You see the tickets were for June 9th at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. So back in April we were thinking. Oh, Oh, this doesn’t look good. Not good at all.

Indeed, the show was cancelled. No big surprise. Neil got his money back from TicketMaster.

So then we heard that Lin-Manuel Miranda was producing a show to be broadcast on Disney-plus, starting on July 3. So we hurried up and added Disney-Plus to our streaming line up on ROKU. Click here for the official trailer

The production will be a filming of a live performance on Broadway. The filming was done over the period of 3 days and edited accordingly.

Today we read an article about the show today’s newspaper. The writer suggested taking a look at a couple of books to get a better understanding of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.

We also downloaded the soundtrack of the show. Started listening while we were driving this morning.

The first book is titled “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernov. This is a long and very detailed (and exhaustive) look at Alexander Hamilton’s life and career in politics.

The second book is titled “Hamilton-The Revolution” and written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter. This is more of an explanation of what is happening during the show, including words to the music, etc.

A League of Their Own

Posted June 27, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Baseball, Movies, Reviews

Tags: , ,

Okay, another baseball movie. Paula got her fix of dancing movies. So now we did another baseball movie. So last night we watched “A League of Their Own” starring Tom Hanks, Madonna, Geena Davis and Rosie O’Donnell

It is the story of the AAGPBL, ie the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. The league was created during WW2 to fill the need for people wanting to watch baseball games while male players were serving overseas in the armed forces. The league eventually grew to sixteen teams, The league mostly operated in the Midwest where people hungered to watch baseball games.

One of the things that caused girl’s baseball to end was the development of TV coverage of baseball games. Ie. People no longer had to go to a ball park to see a game.

Tom Hanks plays the manager Jimmy Dugan who was a former pro ball player. Slowly he manages to get his life under control and stops drinking. Indeed, many of the managers were ex-professional ball players.

So Jimmy was the manager of the Rockford Peaches. He has one of my all time favorite quotes. One of the players started crying when she was coming off the field. Jimmy says to her “There’s no crying in baseball”. This is rated #54 out of the top 100 movie quotes.

Here’s the link to the American Film Institute’s top 100 movie quote list. No. 1 on the list is “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”.

Field of Dreams

Posted June 25, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Baseball, Movies, Reviews

Tags: , , , ,

So last night I was thinking about how I was missing baseball. So we figured that the next best thing would be a movie about baseball. There are plenty of “Baseball” movies. So we decided to start off with “Field of Dreams” starring Kevin Costner. The film was released in 1989.

We’ll probably watch a few more baseball movies during the next couple of weeks before the 2020 baseball season starts on July 24.

The 1919 Chicago White Sox were significant in that eight members of the team were accused of accepting bribes to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. The occasion has been known as the “Chicago Black Sox” scandal.

So here is the story line. An Iowa farmer (Ray Kinsella, played by Costner) has a dream that he interprets to mean that he should build a baseball park on his corn field. Then the 1919 Chicago White Sox show up to play in the newly built park.

The players wander in from the corn field beyond left field area in the ball park. Ray Kinsella is nagged by his brother-in-law (Mark) to stop the lunacy. Ray stubbornly refuses to give it up.

The movie received three Oscar nominations but no wins. Nominated for Best Picture, Best Writing (screenplay based on another medium (book) and Best Music.

We watched the film on Amazon Prime.

Dances with Wolves

Posted June 23, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Movies, Reviews

Tags: , , ,

Last night we decided to catch up on some some movies that we’d seen a long time ago. We decided to watch “Dances with Wolves” starring Kevin Costner and Mary McDowell. This movie was released in 1990. It almost swept the Oscars that year, winning almost every award except for Best Actor and Actress.

One of the reasons that we decided to watch “Dances” was that we had plenty of time. The film runs a little over 3 hours and we had sat down to watch just a little after 8 PM. That’s 3 hours with no intermission. Luckily, we could pause the picture while we took bathroom breaks. When we watched Ben Hur last week, there was an actual intermission. With Wolves, no intermission. You have to make your own intermission.

So we got a new 43” TV last week that has built in ROKU support. That makes it easier to select any of the many streaming services. It’s so much nicer to watch the movie on a large screen. It’s not like a real theater, but it’s better than small screens.

One of the shows we are anxiously awaiting is “Hamilton” which will be July 3 on Disney +. Click here for the trailer. We actually had tickets to see Hamilton in LA in June, but got cancelled due to the COVID-19. This will be the next best thing.

So the story goes as follows. Lt. John Dunbar recovers from a leg wound in a battle in the Civil War. He then leads a charge that wins the skirmish. He is offered any post that he would like and he chooses to go a lonely outpost in the western wilderness.

Then he meets up with the local Sioux tribe and manages to make friends with them. And eventually is treated as a member of the tribe.

This movie was considered a personal triumph for Kevin Costner. We hope to see him again in an earlier film of his, “Field of Dreams

Then he discovers a white woman who was captured by the tribe when she was a young girl. The woman (”Stand with Fists”) becomes the avenue for Dunbar to learn the Sioux language and eventually become Dunbar’s love interest. What is a movie without love and sex?

So it’s streaming on Amazon Prime. Go watch.

Father’s Day – (in)Action Report

Posted June 22, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Family

Tags: ,
Bacon and Eggs

Well, I had a great day. First, I got a call from our son Neil and his wife Laura. We talked for about half an hour. Nice to hear from them.

Then we watched our church’s Sunday online service.

Finally, we headed down to the Pacific Diner to have brunch with our son Mike and his family. Jonathan did the drawing on the top of the post. The drawing goes up on the refrigerator. As usual, I had my bacon and eggs.

Finally, a quiet afternoon. I did a few more Sunday crossword puzzles. It was a wonderful day.

Mr. Iglesias

Posted June 18, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: California, Long Beach, Reviews, Television

Tags: , , ,

So we started watching a comedy series called “Mr. Iglesias” on Netflix last night. This is a comedy series about a high school teacher who is working with gifted but misfit students at a high school in Long Beach, CA.

The series stars Gabriel Iglesias who is a stand up comic who portrays a high school teacher. I think he teaches history, but I’m not quite sure. We binge watched three episodes last night. The series just started its second season this week.

Supposedly, Iglesias is a super star standup comic. So apparently he is also known as Fluffy. Hmmm. Why have I never heard of him? Iglesias’ costumes are always shorts, a polo shirt and a hat (Google calls it either a “flat” hat of a “newsboy” hat). Back in the day, I tried my hand at teaching middle and high school math. If I had come to work dressed like him, I would have been fired on the spot. Click here for his Wiki entry. Click here for his personal web site.

Season 1 has ten episodes and season 2 has twelve episodes. I am not sure I will be managing to make it through all 22 episodes. Meh. Can’t see myself spending the time to grind through all the episodes.

Laurel Canyon

Posted June 14, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: California, Movies, Music

Tags: , ,

So we heard about a new documentary the other day titled “Laurel Canyon” on Epix. Epix is a streaming tv channel that is connected to cable tv services. ie. You need to be a cable customer to get Epix.

Laurel Canyon is located north of Hollywood along Laurel Canyon Blvd. in the Hollywood Hills. It is a nice secluded area with lots of trees and greenery.

First, I had never heard of the streaming channel called “Epix”. So I had to see if our Roku box could get it. It does, though it took some doing to get it enabled.

“Laurel Canyon” is a two-part documentary about a neighborhood in Los Angeles of the same name. Laurel Canyon is located just north of Hollywood off of Laurel Canyon Blvd.. It happens to be an area where several recording artists took up residence in the late 60’s/early 70’s. Here is a map:

Episode 1 covers the bands “The Doors”, “Crosby Stills and Nash”, Joni Mitchell, “The Birds”, “Buffalo Springfield”, Frank Zappa (Mothers of invention), “The Monkees”,etc. I loved the music.

Episode 2 adds stories about Jackson Brown, The Eagles and more. It talks about how the various bands grew to be major stars such that they could no longer perform at Hollywood venues like The Troubador or Whiskey-a-Go Go. Too many fans.

Then the show talks about the eventual decline of the groups. First came the death of Jim Morrison in 1971 in Paris (cause unknown), then the death of Mama Cass Eliot in 1974 (due to heart failure). Of course, heavy heroin use didn’t help much.

I’ve got my playlist on my iPhone set for the next month. Such a short time but a huge amount of music.