Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

"They are not dead who live in lives they leave behind. In those whom they have blessed they live a life again."—Eleanor Roosevelt

As of September 2009 there are:

-- 1,027,000 American Vietnam Veterans still living, their average age is 60-68

-- 3,900,000 American Korean War Veterans still living, their average age is 76-88  – a percentage of those veterans also served in World War II

-- 2,272,000 American World War II veterans still living, their average age is 85-90

-- 1 American World War I veteran is still living: his name is Frank Woodruff Buckles, he is 109 years old. He was also taken prisoner (as a civilian) by the Japanese in World War II

These remaining soldiers served with men and women who died so that:

-- there is still a Cardinals – Cubs rivalry,
-- Keith Olberman and Bill O’Reilly can argue their views without censorship,
-- Barnes and Noble and Legacy Bookstore can co-exist,
-- Green’s Produce Market and Whole Foods can both prosper in the same town,
-- I can sit at my computer this morning to write this blog entry.

In December 2000, the US Congress passed PL-106-579 establishing a National Moment of Remembrance to be observed each Memorial Day at 3:00 P.M.

Not all of us can remember to pause at that moment on Monday, but none of us should ever forget of the great and tragic sacrifice that is at the heart of this holiday.

-- Marla Hooch

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

June 1st

One week from today is June 1st. During my childhood that was a magical date.

June 1st was nearly always the beginning of summer vacation, it meant:

-- Playing tag in the grapevines in Uncle John and Aunt Mitzi’s backyard

--Mowing the lawn and weeding the garden, which I liked to do and avoiding housework (which I hated, and still do)

-- Loading up on books at the Reynolds Corner library every Wednesday afternoon

-- Singing in the choir for countless Friday night and Saturday morning weddings at Our Lady of Lourdes church. I always looked forward to Saturday “doubleheaders” (two weddings in one day) Father Ray would give us money to run over to Jerry’s Variety Store across the street to get sodas and candy in between services.

-- The smell of citronella candles in the evenings as we sat out on the side porch visiting with neighbors and friends.

-- Standing in the damp grass at all hours of the night with the New Mexico Bean and her telescope looking at planets and constellations.

-- Playing badminton in the backyard, trying to keep the volleys going as long as possible while not hitting the bats that flew overhead as the sun set back over Uncle Walt’s yard.

-- White Hut Hamburgers, Dudley’s Hot Dogs, the Jesse James Drive-In (I remember going there to see “Help” The guys in the next car got out and sat in an empty space on a blanket next to a speaker because the girls in their car were screaming and giggling very loudly over the Beatles songs and dialogue).

-- An all day trip to the Toledo Zoo (remember the polar bears and the train?) , or to the Toledo Art Museum (“Night Smells” and the open mummy case), and sometimes to the beach at Marblehead, Ohio by my Godmother (Aunt Eleanor’s) house.

-- During the day the little red, white and blue transistor radio was always tuned to : The “Big 8” – CKLW (a clear channel station based in Windsor, Ontario but the station was really all about Detroit). Pat Holiday, Ted Richards, 20-20 News with Byron MacGregor and Jo-Jo the traffic girl (it’s amazing how much I knew about Detroit traffic problems).

The other day I was checking out the music stations on my television satellite skipping between the 60’s, 70’s and 80’channels, when I realized how many songs I associate with summer: “Indian Reservation” (Paul Revere and the Raiders). “Mama Told Me Not Come” (3 Dog Night), "Paperback Writer" (The Beatles), "The Love You Save" (Jackson 5), "American Woman" (The Guess Who) and “Rock The Boat” (Hues Corporation)

Does anyone remember the song “Troglodyte”? (“She was a big woman, her name was Bertha….”)

In fact a couple of those summer songs have wound up sharing the Arizona sun with me on my Spring Training CDs “All Right Now” (Free) and “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)” (Looking Glass).

In the evening you moved the dial to 760 WJR, Tigers play by play from George Kell and Ernie Harwell.

It’s easy to look back through the softened lenses of time to remember the bliss and freedom of summer. That seemed like a good idea this morning when I opened the paper and fired up the computer only to read a perplexing maze legal speculation about a part of my life that should be just as joyous and exhilarating as those summers past.

Today, I’d rather just think about June 1st and smile. – Marla Hooch

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bullet Points

Another Sunday, another night I can't figure out what to write, so here are few random bullet points.

  • A couple of weeks ago I speculated that Matt Treanor might be the Kevin Elster (1996) type player on this Rangers team. Today, I’m thinking probably not. However, I have found a couple of other comparisons to that magical team.

  • Josh Hamilton=Dean Palmer, think about it – Dean could strike out with the best of them, and he was a very streaky hitter – but when he was good – he was really good. I’ve thought that Josh was somewhere in between his 2008 season and 2009 – they were both too extreme – don’t get me wrong – that’s a compliment to Josh, and I actually think he’s a better all around player than Dean, but he will be prone to the streakiness, and I can live with that.

  • Darren Oliver=…wait a minute Darren Oliver was on that 1996 team. By the way do you remember that no starting pitcher on that team won more than 16 games? But the rotation was very reliable and balanced the four main starters all won at least 14 games: Ken Hill (16), Roger Pavlik (15) Bobby Witt (16) and Darren Oliver (14).

  • Let’s see: lost 3 in Toronto, swept 4 games from the Angels and Orioles, then lost 2 out 3 to the Cubs – that’s a .500 team (oh, and by the way lost ground to Oakland who are now just 2 games in back of the Rangers). I still can’t put a label on this Rangers team other than inconsistent.

  • Draft day is only a couple of weeks away one of my favorite days of the baseball calendar. However, I can’t help but be a little hesitant about how the ownership mess is going to affect the Rangers choices. MLB still controlling the purse strings – are the Rangers going to have to add a phrase to their usual mantra on draft day: “The best player available…that we can afford to sign”. Make no mistake about it- Bud Selig believes that team should stick with the “slot” bonus system that MLB recommends (and most teams do not follow). He wasn’t afraid to use the Rangers as an example of his financial prudence last season with Matthew Purke, and with 2 early picks this year, things could get ugly, really ugly on draft day.

  • Of course the Rangers haven’t had much luck with their first round draft picks for the last 5 years: I’ve already mentioned the Purke fiasco, John Mayberry (2005) is in the minor leagues with the Phillies, Kasey Kiker (2006) is in his second full season at AA Frisco, appears to be taking a big step backward with 5.73 ERA (and is currently on the DL) and then there’s Justin Smoak hitting .165 – but hey, he takes a lot of walks, which is what you want your first baseman to do. By the way Chris Davis at OKC hitting .327 with 22 RBI. The bright spot in this gloomy group: Blake Beavan – 2.88 ERA, 9 BB, 37 K’s and has lasted 8 innings in his last 2 games he started.

  • Speaking of the ownership situation: I’ve read that the creditors would like to push the Rangers into bankruptcy – but here’s my question. The primary creditor is Monarch – who bought “bad date” for less than HSG actually owed. Is a bankruptcy judge going to look at that and say – hey fella’s you knew you were buying bad debt, if you can’t collect it, that’s not the court’s problem? Just wondering.

  • I know I should be happy the Rangers are in the thick of things in the AL West, but I still get the impression that this is a team with no clear sense of direction, from the owner’s office right on down to the dugout. I keep waiting for something or someone to grab control of the wheel and star steering this organization forward.

    • “Worry gives small things a big shadow” – a Swedish Proverb

      -- Marla Hooch