Friday, May 15, 2009

Sing-A-Long With Marla

I wavered between publishing the grouchy rant I’d started the other night and something a little more light hearted – as you can tell by the title – I’m feeling a little more light hearted or should I say light headed today. Let’s enjoy the moment and remember that it’s a long season – anything can happen. My inspiration today is my IPod: “hear” are a few random lyrics that reminded me of a few random baseball thoughts:

“There’s fever in the funk house now” – Tumbling Dice (performed by Linda Ronstadt – written by the Rolling Stones): Describing this weekend’s showdown between the Angels and Rangers

“…now if you’ll buy that, I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona” – Ocean Front Property (George Strait): Brandon McCarthy – I keep reading about his supposed improvement. Yeah, and he’s the only Rangers starting pitcher who has yet to pitch into the 6th inning, opponents are hitting an almost healthy .269 against (with lefties smacking him around at .315) If you believe that he's actually getting better, then I have a deal for you on a bridge in Brooklyn.

“We skipped the light fandango, turned cartwheels across the floor…” - Whiter Shade of Pale (Procol Harum): No real baseball content, just one of the greatest songs that makes no sense – unless of course you’ve been indulging in a few adult beverages – then it makes perfect sense. NPR had a good story on this song a couple of weeks ago.

“ … on a wing and a prayer. Who could it be? Believe it or not it’s just me.” – Theme From The Greatest American Hero (Joey Scarbury): Frisco C Manuel Pina - another member of the collection of Ranger catching prospects. Started off with a blazing April and is still putting up amazing numbers at Frisco: a .407 BA for the season (hitting .308 for the ten games he’s played in May).

“these [bats] were made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do. One of these days these [bats] are gonna walk all over you” – These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (with apologies to Nancy Sinatra): Hank Blalock - the spark plug of walk off rallies.

“ but what a good year for the roses” – A Good Year for the Roses – (performed by Elvis Costello – originally performed by George Jones): Again – no baseball content. Elvis made the off hand remark to James Taylor during his interview on “Spectacle” – “why don’t we do a whole show of George Jones songs!” – I say why not? I’d love to hear Elvis sing “He Stopped Loving Her Today”.

“I just want you to know who I am” – Iris (Goo Goo Dolls): Chris Davis - tied for 3rd place in the AL with 10 Home Runs (along with teammate Hank Blalock and Boston’s Jason Bay)

"Don't you forget about me, don't don't don't you forget about me." - Don't You Forget About Me (Simple Minds): Frisco LHP Kasey Kiker - May Stats: W-L: 2-1, IP: 17, BB: 9, K: 21, ERA: 2.12

“I’m free fallin, yeah I’m free fallin” – Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers): The Seattle Mariners, a 1-7 road trip will do that to you.

“Maybe someday I'll be strong. Maybe it won't be long. I'll be the one who's tough. You'll be the one who's got it rough. It won't be long and maybe I'll be real strong.” – Too Fast For You (Dwight Yoakum): Elvis Andrus - I never get tired of linking these videos.

"I'm alright. Nobody worry 'bout me.” - I’m Alright (Kenny Loggins) : Kevin Millwood - If only he had some of that run support Brandon McCarthy always seems to get.

“I know where you goin' to, I knew when you came home last night 'cause your eyes had a mist from the smoke of a distant fire” – Smoke From A Distant Fire (Sanford Townsend Band): Frisco DH Justin Smoak - You can stop groaning now. By the way, I don’t sing karaoke, but if I did this is the song I’d sing.

“They think that I’m no good
But I will make myself understood
Cause I believed it all along.
I think I’m gonna love it
I know they won't believe it
When they finally see the saving grace in me”

-- Saving Grace (Todd Rundgren):

Believing since 1979 – Marla Hooch


Sunday, May 10, 2009

The City On The Edge Of Forever

I was in 5th grade when the original Star Trek premiered on NBC. Although we had a strict bedtime set way before 10:00 p.m. on Thursday night I did get to see a few first run episodes and the rest during the summer reruns (when we were allowed to stay up later). I have very fond memories of that series, being as interested as I was in the US space program Star Trek seemed like the logical outcome of NASA’s endeavors.

My dad was a TV repairman, which meant we never owned a new TV set – we always wound up with someone’s set that didn’t get picked up at the shop. In 1966 that was a good thing because we were the first family on the block to get a color TV. If you ever meet Baseball Mom ask her about the paper boy and his brother planning their weekly rounds to collect payments for the newspaper so they could watch some of the Star Trek episodes in color through the screen door on our front porch.

A friend asked me a couple of weeks ago if I was going to see the new Star Trek movie. I apparently made a face that looked liked I smelled something awful – “absolutely not” was my answer. It was the mixture of the mounting hype as well as the dread that the filmmakers would sully the memory of the original series that was going to keep me away from this movie. I’ve seen too many remakes, prequel and sequel movies that either mock or bear no resemblance the original and I can’t think of one that was better than the original (except for the remake of “Sabrina” with Harrison Ford).

But I have to admit it: the writers, directors and actors in the new Star Trek film got it right.

Baseball Mom (the first Trek fan in the family) wanted to see the movie (and go to Popeye’s Chicken for lunch – go figure) so that is how we spent Mother’s Day. And as always – Mother knows best.

I lost track of the number of times we nudged and winked at each other when the dialogue in a scene was a perfect reference to the past. It was the little things in the movie that made it truly enjoyable to those of us who remember: Sulu’s fencing, Dr. McCoy’s offhanded request for Nurse Chapel to take care of a patient, Captain Pike in a wheelchair, that familiar sonar noise in the background, the little square shuttle craft and the fact that they didn’t (substantially) change the look of the exterior of the Enterprise.

I’m not a big fan of action sequences and special effects – that’s just a personal preference – and I know why they had to have so many in this movie – thank goodness they did not overwhelm the storyline.

The plot was a little tricky, but not outrageous and the performances by the actors were, again, right on target. They all carried the spirit of the actors who preceded them in these roles. Chris Pine playing Captain Kirk was outstanding and even snuck in a few excellent Shatner-like mannerisms and line deliveries. Somewhere DeForest Kelly and James Doohan are smiling about their characters back stories as revealed in this film and the impeccable performances by the young men (Karl Urban and Simon Pegg) who played them. And God Bless the director JJ Abrams for keeping Majel Barrett Rodenberry’s voice for the Starfleet command computer.

I had a few very minor quibbles with this version: I still can’t get over the fact that Dr. Cameron is Kirk’s mother or that Winnona Ryder took up Jane Wyman’s part as Mr. Spock’s mom. I didn’t like the one liberty they took with the plot about Vulcan and Spock’s mom – it was as he would say “highly illogical” – and why not Klingons instead of Romulans? Just asking.

Seeing an aged Leonard Nimoy with all these fine young actors (especially the one who played the young Spock – Zachary Quinto) definitely made me realize how long ago it was that I sat in that in that living room on Hayes Rd on those summer evenings watching Star Trek on our color TV. I’m glad I changed my mind and saw the movie, it reminded me that Star Trek was a series that was a source of fascination as well as hope. In the words of James Tiberius Kirk (from the episode”Whom Gods Destroy”) it was and is “a dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars”.

The title of this blog is a reference to my favorite Star Trek episode “The City on The Edge of Forever” – which involves time travel (a plot device used in the new movie too) you can watch the full episode via this link on You Tube.

Mandatory Baseball Content – since this is a baseball blog:

Justin Smoak: hits like Mark Teixeira, plays first base like Travis Hafner – Chris Davis fans have nothing to worry about – Smoak is a born DH.

Vincente Padilla: Really?

I never look forward to seeing the Angels come to Arlington, but I’m a little bit jazzed about the series this coming weekend. Let's see if this Rangers team really is ready– bring it on!

Live long and prosper -- Marla Hooch