The Yankees Rescue My Sports Season

Back in the 1990s I would watch the Yankees with my kids and we’d enjoy the show.  Some years they went all the way and won the Series.  Sometimes they got knocked out.  But Steinbrenner always fielded an interesting team and they mostly entertained.  When the new Millennium turned in 2001 and the Yankees lost in the seventh game of the Series against the Diamondbacks management decided to clean house and got rid of several of the older veterans.  They were replaced with very high-priced free-agent upgrades.  But the team lost its soul.  They were just hired guns.  And as often as not, they severely underperformed.  And it went on and on and on.  If the Yankees had just allowed a couple of rebuilding years and gone for some young talent they would have come back strong and saved hundreds of millions of dollars.  And then they bought A-Rod.  Wow.  And then they let Jeter continue as the shortstop even after he needed a walker to get around the infield.  And all the fun was gone.  Nothing but whining year after year.

But now Jeter has mercifully retired.  A-Rod will get the next 10 years of his Yankee salary from the Fox Sports Post-Game Studio where his damage will be limited to English grammar and comprehension.  And this year the average age of the line-up is ten years younger than during the Jeter/A-Rod era.

Just in time for my boycott of the Kneeling NFL the Yankees are playing playoff baseball again and having a hell of a lot of fun.  So now I can watch the Yankees with my grandsons and tell them about guys like Scott Brosius, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neil and the other Yankees that were put out to pasture to make room for Jason Giambi and A-Rod (at ten times the salary and half the production) and the other steroid juiced duds who infected the 2000s.  And even if they get knocked out before the Series they provide a positive attitude about hustling for the play and running out a grounder because they’re not aging multi-millionaire’s yet.  They’re still on their way up and they have excitement about playing.

And the best part is they’ll stand for the Anthem and won’t be wearing socks that call cops pigs or glamorize thugs.  They still seem to respect the Flag, the Country and the Fans.

Read this American Greatness Article, The Method to Trump’s Madness, by Victor Davis Hanson

I should have a regular topic called “American Greatness” Topic of the Day.

https://amgreatness.com/2017/10/16/the-method-to-trumps-madness/

The latest gem is “The Method to Trump’s Madness.”  Victor Davis Hanson makes a lot of great points here. He addresses the reason why Trump employs such a bizarre strategy as Twitter Attacks on other politicians and the Media and even the NFL.  Here’s a sample:

“The issue is never just Trump’s outbursts or tweets in isolation but, rather, the comparisons between them and his targets. Again, attacking NFL players may not be presidential, but Trump’s pushback is often judged by many voters on the basis of its intent—in other words, an effort to oppose the growing trend of multimillionaire athletes refusing to stand for the National Anthem. If we have never seen a president stoop to fight with the NFL, we have also never seen the NFL kneel to self-destruct by offending millions of its fans. If the president cannot defend a national tradition of standing in honor during the National Anthem, who else could?

Pollsters, pundits, and the media have vastly underestimated how many in America loathe multimillionaire celebrities, pampered athletes, and triangulating politicians—the usual targets of Trump’s invective.”

Read the whole thing. It’s extremely well thought out.

Universal Classic Monster Movies – An OCF Classic Movie Review – Part 7 – The Lesser Works and A Final Verdict

The follow-on episodes to each of the primary monster movies vary in quality but the one given is that anything with a title that begins with “Abbott and Costello Meet …” isn’t going to be scary.  It could be funny, but definitely not scary.

Sort of in a class by itself is the first sequel to Frankenstein, “The Bride of Frankenstein.”  This movie has a lot of interesting things going on.  The actors who portrayed Dr. Frankenstein and the Monster in the first film reprise their roles here (Colin Clive and Boris Karloff).  The script is leavened with a little humor.  Some scenes add some human interest to the Monster’s otherwise predictable behavior of grabbing people and things and tossing them about.  One of the best known of these is the Blind Man Scene.  The Monster escapes from his enemies.  He’s been shot and is on the run.  He wanders into the cottage of a blind man who welcomes him and treats him with kindness.  The Monster is sheltered and his wounds treated.  The blind man teaches him to speak and introduces him to bread and wine and even the pleasure of a good cigar.  And he learns what music is and he calls the Blind Man friend.  Of course, inevitably, reality strikes back and a couple of hunters show up at the Blind Man’s cottage and tell the blind man he’s living with a monster.  And somehow, they manage to burn down the cottage before fleeing from the Monster.

Standouts performances in the movie are Dr. Praetorius and Minnie, Elizabeth Frankenstein’s Housekeeper.  Dr. Praetorius is a competing mad scientist who has also dabbled in the creation of human life and wants to convince Dr. Frankenstein to create a woman.  Minnie is an almost Shakespearean character who combines the qualities of busybody and wise fool with the ability shriek like an air raid siren.

 

The Monster meets Dr. Praetorius while he is selecting body parts for the Monster’s bride in the catacombs beneath the graveyard.  The Dr. offers him wine and a cigar and they become quite chummy.  So much so that the Monster becomes Praetorius’ henchman in a plan to kidnap Elizabeth to force Dr. Frankenstein to complete the Bride project.

 

Appended to the story is a foreword that portrays Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and the Frankenstein authoress (his wife Mary) discussing the story on a stormy night and segueing to the creation of a mate for the Monster.  Interestingly, they cast the same actress, Elsa Lanchester, to play both Mary and the Monster’s mate.

 

The final scene where we see the meeting between the Monster and his prospective bride the atmosphere is bizarre and overwrought to say the least.  Suffice it to say that Monster love does not conquer all.  The spurned monster decides to blow up the laboratory taking himself, Dr. Praetorius and the Bride “to kingdom come.”  But interestingly, he decides to spare Dr. and Mrs Frankenstein.  So, once again, the producers decided that a non-literary happy ending was the way to go.  Assuming that they realized they would need descendants of Dr. Frankenstein to allow for further sequels I guess you could say this decision was at least monetarily warranted.  Artistically, maybe not.  It is pretty much acknowledged that the quality of the Frankenstein sequels after the “The Bride” falls off almost asymptotically.  The next installment “The Son of Frankenstein” has a few good moments that mostly don’t involve the Monster but otherwise is mediocre.  After that the rest of the series is almost unwatchable.

 

And unwatchable is how I would describe the rest of the sequels and reboots that fill out the Universal Classic Monster movies.  The later installments of the Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman and Mummy series are very poor indeed.  The Mummy series was not continued after the original film but instead rebooted with the new Mummy character identified as Kharis played by our old friend the Wolfman, Lon Chaney Jr.  In these later movies, the Mummy is never given any personality but mutely wanders through each of the movies of this series wrapped in his bandages and chasing ponderously after the protagonists who are murdered one by one for possessing the Scroll of Thoth (or whatever they called it in the later series).  I think in the last of the series I remember he is somehow or other running around the bayous of Louisiana hunting the scroll and its owners.  In the last scene, he is seen plodding into the swamp until he is lost to sight under the muddy water, apparently ending his undead life far from the deserts of Egypt as a soggy meal for alligators and crawfish.  A fitting end.

 

So, what’s the verdict?  Is the Universal Classic Monster series a worthwhile cinematic collection or an embalmed thing that is only noteworthy as a museum piece to be fussed over by academics and fanatics?  I vote worthwhile.  Granted the movies are antique and the audience surely won’t be scared in the same way your great grandparents were.  But the movies still provide the fantasy experience that they originally were designed for.  In the same way, a nursery rhyme can still charm children who have never seen lambs and cows and ducks except on a screen so these movies give an archetypal experience of the dark fantasy world they are meant to represent.  Dracula is the evil seducer of young innocents.  Frankenstein’s Monster is the raging step-child of God.  The Mummy is a Promethean character punished forever for attempting to preempt the prerogatives of the gods.  Each of these movies is an outdated but enjoyable attempt to entertain an audience with a passion play of what happens when humans are juxtaposed with the darker side of the fantastic.  And because of the gap in time since they were made I think that the best audience for enjoying these films are kids.  I’d say 9 to 11 is about the optimal age group for maximum effect.  That age is old enough not to be scared by the images but not old enough to be jaded by modern movie magic.  And come to think of it, I think that’s how old I was when I thought these movies were great fun.

Universal Classic Monster Movies – An OCF Classic Movie Review – Part 6 – The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man, to be pedantically precise, is not a monster movie but a science fiction story.  H.G. Wells’ tale of a scientist who develops a technique to render the human body (his own) invisible is not really monstrous in a physical sense but because the technique drives the inventor insane we are back in the neighborhood of the Mad Scientist.  And since Dr. Frankenstein is then brought to mind we can shoehorn this science fiction story into the genre.  Claude Rains (the Wolfman’s father from an earlier chapter of this review) is the Invisible Man.  Or rather Claude Rains voice is the star of the movie, since until the very last scene we can’t see his face.  But it’s a very good voice.  And since often we can’t exactly tell what he’s doing he spends a fair amount of time telegraphing his actions to help us guess what his actions are that the other characters are pantomiming around.  And he’s an active fellow.  He kills a few people with his bare (invisible) hands.  He bludgeons some others and he goes in for some mass murder via railway sabotage.  He ends up a rather unsavory fellow.  But somehow there remains a somewhat sympathetic core to the character.  Based on the people who still try to help him he must have been a good man before his descent into madness.  Therefore, we can look at him as a victim of his own scientific curiosity.

All that aside, it’s a fun movie.  The scientific intelligence, megalomania and irritable persona of the Invisible Man is juxtaposed against the plodding mediocrity, skeptical common sense and parochial outlook of the English villagers and local constables who are dumbfounded and unbelieving as to the true cause of the strange goings on.  Whenever they declare the inexplicable events a hoax the Invisible Man steps in and gives them a painful (and sometimes fatal) object lesson in his reality.

In the thick of these goings on is my favorite supporting character Una O’Connor as the Innkeeper’s wife.  She is a wonderfully shrewish landlady whose suspicious and unkind treatment of the Invisible Man throws him off the deep end.  She possesses the most remarkable shrieking scream ever recorded on film.  She is a national treasure of sorts.  And as a tie-in she plays Dr. Frankenstein’s housekeeper in “The Bride of Frankenstein,” another movie where she chews up the scenery and shrieks a blue streak.

Of course, by the end of the movie and after murdering so many innocent people, the Invisible Man has lost almost all of the audience’s sympathy so that it seems just that he should pay the price for his crimes.  But he is allowed the touching death scene where he regains his humanity and seemingly his sanity.

So, to reiterate, this is not a monster movie but there is a Mad Scientist and several of our old friends from earlier Universal Monster Movies do show up.  It’s basically a tour de force for Claude Rains (or rather his voice). I give it my seal of approval.  Good stuff.

Roger Kimball at American Greatness Has Another Article I Like “Yes, Trump Is Winning”

I know, I know, I’m becoming a broken record.  But read it.  It’s fun.  He goes to an event at a social club and is hectored for supporting Trump and told that Trump is failing.  The list of accomplishments that follows is pretty comprehensive.  My favorites are the social repercussions (NFL, Hollywood scandals) that just seem to keep happening.  Give it a try.

 

Yes, Trump is Winning

When the Sleepers Awaken

A couple of months ago I wrote a post called “Talking to the Sleepwalkers” in which I described how I attempted to explain what Trump was all about to friends who were still looking at things from the point of view that the Republicans were actually conservative.  At the end of the post I wrote, “Did I wake anyone up?  I don’t know, but at least now I feel like I want to keep trying.”

Well yesterday an echo pinged back on the sonar.  I was pointed to an article in the WSJ by one of the folks I was talking about before.  It was entitled:

Is ‘Classical Liberalism’ Conservative?

Trump didn’t divide the right. Centuries-old philosophical divisions have re-emerged.

By Yoram Hazony

It’s a description of how the “New World Order” crowd convinced us (and themselves?) that they were conservative.  I guess I got through.  Good.  That’s a first step.  And an important one.  Until you know what the problem is, you can’t possibly start working to effectively to fix it.

A couple of years into this brave new world of right wing revolt we still don’t even know what we are actually doing.  The grass roots agitators aren’t even aligned.  In fact, they don’t even know what to call themselves yet.  Alt-Right, Dissident Right, Alt-West, Nationalists, Populists, etc.  And of course, factionalism and cults of personality and disagreements on just about every subject imaginable are on display and defeatists and concern trolls are packed cheek to jowl as far as the eye can see.

But it’s still infinitely better than not knowing why every action by “our side” was a defeat and every day brought a new outrage that went unchecked.  And Trump is still in his White House so “all’s right with the world.”  Of late my joy at his almost uncanny ability to trigger my worst enemies into paroxysms of rage is becoming almost embarrassing.  At work, I’ll be writing some mundane list or power point slide and I’ll think about his NFL or Weinstein tweets and stop and smile and get some coffee and e-mail a friend about it.  It’s definitely cutting into my productivity but it’s also lowering my blood pressure and overall that’s good for everything including ability to do work.  And I imagine it’s having the opposite effect on my left-wing counterparts.  They probably hear about these things and get driven into a rage spiral and that’s got to be bad for the blood pressure and quality of life.  Ah, sweet schadenfreude.

To get back to the original point, word’s getting out.  Reach out to the unaware.  They can be reached.  And Trump is doing his part.  He goes after those we aren’t allowed to touch.  The more Trump calls out the bullies the clearer it becomes that they are the problem.  Pretty soon even Great Aunt Sophie may know what Fake News is.  If everyone who can be reached knows what’s going on, then we can figure out whether a national consensus can be reached.  So, if 55-60% of the country can agree that the left is the problem (including the GOPE) then maybe we can turn this around.  If not, then we’re headed down the road to tribalism and identity politics and the end of the American Dream.  But even if we end up there we’re better off than if we got there without knowing why and how.  We can dictate some of the terms of the divorce.  Cold comfort?  Maybe, but I’ll take it.

These Guys at American Greatness Are Making Me Feel Redundant

Of course, I’ve never seen them post a Trump vs Morning Shmoe and Lycra.  So there is that.

Honestly, this guy Deion Kathawa in his article Conservatives Need to Stop Indulging Leftist Narratives

hits it pretty square on the head.  These “conservative” pundits he talks about would rather walk back everything they believe than have liberals call them bad names.  That should make it easy to decide who is on our side and who is along for the ride (or paycheck).

Now, of course, if they’ve taken your dog hostage and are threatening you with Fido showing up in your mailbox piece by flea-bitten piece, then, yeah, I understand.  But the worst these guys are up against is Twitter down votes.  Maybe Google will suspend their Gmail accounts.  Hardly the stuff of hard-boiled, hard-hitting humor blogging.  If groveling is an important part of your month then maybe you should be in a different line, like politics.

Anyway, the Daily Wire thing is very disappointing.  If you have to clear your comedy skits mocking leftists, through a leftist censorship committee, I think your usefulness (except as a useful idiot for the left) is done.  And that’s the good thing that’s coming from all this.  Once you figure out the game being played by the Left and the Fake Right you stop caring what people say about you and then you can say what you really think.  A young guy at work, nice kid, asked what I thought about the NFL kneeling crap.  Now I knew he didn’t care one way or the other (or so he says).  So, I said the players and the owners can do whatever they want.  And, so can I.  So, I’ll never watch another NFL game until they apologize for what they’ve been doing for the last year.  And since I know that will never happen in a million years I can start using the time I wasted watching football on something useful.  I can get an extra post done or write a story or go out and take some pictures or read a book by someone who writes things that I enjoy.  And by turning off the NFL I’ve done my small part to starve the rats.

Bowling Night

Scene 1 – 7am Monday, White House West Wing, President Trump in the Oval Office on the phone with Steve Bannon

President Trump (PT) – Look Bannon, just because I fired you doesn’t mean you can get away with ducking my calls.

Steve Bannon (SB) (on the phone line) – Sorry Mr. President, but it’s 4a.m. here in LA.  And last night I was detained by pressing business.  The whole Weinstein thing has got us working really late.

PT – Yeah, yeah whatever.  Look I’m supposed to get together with the President of Poland and he’s under the mistaken impression that I’m a pro caliber bowler.

SB – Is that because you told him you are?

PT – That’s beside the point.  What I need is someone to check my form and make sure I’m not hooking it.

SB – I don’t know.  I’ve seen you bowl.  There are navy jets with less hook than you.  Wouldn’t it be easier to just say you threw out your back?

PT – You’re not helping Bannon.

SB – Well look, I’ve got a friend who used to be a pro bowler.  He’s the perfect guy to give you some pointers.  I’ll send the security guys his info and they can have him in the White House tonight.  I’ll let him know he has his work cut out for him.

PT – Boy I wish I hadn’t fired you.  Then I could fire you now.  Goodbye!

 

Scene 2 – Early that night, White House Bowling Alley

PT – Hey you certainly got here early.  I wasn’t expecting you till ten.

Bowling Pro (BP) – I always bowl at this time.

PT – Okay, sure, whatever.  You want to bowl a practice game just to warm up?

BP – Sure pal, why not?  My partner didn’t show and it’s Friday so there’s no rush.

PT – Friday?  It’s Monday.

BP – It ain’t Monday.  Otherwise I’d be getting up for work tomorrow and wouldn’t be here.

PT – Bannon sure knows how to pick ‘em.  Okay, sure it’s Friday.  Let’s bowl.

BP – Whatever you say.  (mumbling) another nut!

PT – What?

BP – Nothing, nothing.  Let’s bowl.

(President Trump takes his first throw.  The ball hooks left only knocking down one pin).

BP – You hooked it.

PT – I know I hooked.  What do I do about it?

BP – You’re swinging your arm out during the advance.  Slow it down and concentrate on the pocket.  The ball will follow your eye.

PT – Okay, let me try that again.

BP – Perfect you got the spare.

PT – Yes I am actually an amazing bowler.

BP – Oh, now you’re an amazing bowler.  Listen pal, my neighbor’s kid Tommy Manicotti is in the fourth grade and currently has the measles but he could beat you bowling left handed.

PT – Oh, yeah?  Well I could have Tommy Manicotti investigated by the FBI.  Then he wouldn’t be so tough.

BP – You, are a mental case.

PT – Yeah, well I’ve got my form back, so you can just take a hike.

BP – Oh, yeah?  I’ll bet you ten bucks the next one ends up in the right gutter.

PT – How about ten thousand?

BP – Sure pal, make it ten thousand.  I’ll call up my Uncle Rockefeller for a loan. (mumbles) What a mook.

(President Trump throws the ball and gutters to the right)

PT – What the hell happened?  I always hook to the left.

BP – You lost your concentration with all the yelling and overcompensated.

PT – You really know what you’re talking about.  How did you figure that out?

BP – Well, to be honest, I kinda have the same problem.  I usually bowl with this neighbor of mine.  He’s the nicest guy in the world, would give you the shirt off his back, but he’s also the most annoying man on the face of the planet.  I sometimes have to count to ten after talking to him just to get my concentration back.

PT – Yeah, I know a guy like that too.  Vice President Pence.  Great guy but always annoying me about what people might think about my speeches.

BP – Yeah, I know what you mean.  The President at the Racoons Lodge is always going on about some charity thing we have to sponsor.  Very annoying.

PT – Yeah these guys never give you a break.  Sounds like we have similar problems.  Does it ever get you down?

BP – Sure pal, every New Yorker deals with the rat race every day but when he goes home at night he’s king of his castle.  If he’s got a good wife and a few good friends it doesn’t matter if his job is tough and there’s not enough money for that new bowling ball.  He’s still the richest man in the world because he’s free and as good as the next guy.  And he’s living in the greatest country on the face of the earth.

PT – You’re a New Yorker?

BP – And so are you.  Do we sound like we’re from Boston?

PT – That’s true.  It’s just being here I assumed you were local.

BP – Well my mother’s people were originally from Passaic but they moved to the Bronx way back.

PT – Hmm.  What you said made a lot of sense.  Mind if I use it in a speech I’m gonna make?

BP – Knock yourself out.  My lodge brothers usually wander off to the sandwich table when I start gassing about that stuff.  They’re more interested in who’s pitching for the Dodgers and Giants when they play a cross-town.

PT – You live in California now?

BP – Huh?  No!  (mumbles)  This guy’s got a screw loose.

PT – Oh, never mind.  Well look.  Thanks for the pointers.  And thanks for the speech line.  Maybe we could get together again sometime and talk politics.

BP – Sure I’m here every Friday night, unless Alice wants to go to the Hong Kong Gardens.

PT – What?  Okay sure. Bye.

Scene 3 -A little later that night, West Wing

(President Trump on the phone with Security)

PT – What is it Al?

Secret Service Agent (SSA) (on phone) – Mr. President, that bowling pro friend of Mr. Bannon’s just called to apologize.  He’s stuck in traffic outside Washington and won’t make it tonight.   …….  Mr. President are you still there?  Did you hear what I said?

PT – Uh, yeah sure.  Thanks. (hangs phone up)  Hmm.

Sony A7S III rumor

Sony Alpha Rumors has an SR4 rumor for the A7SIII arriving next week.

 

(SR4) Sony A7sIII (or A9s) to be announced on October 18. It is a Full Frame GH5 killer?

 

Now that’s a camera I’m definitely interested in. They say it will have the auto focus of the A9. If that’s the case and it isn’t $5grand I have a feeling I’ll be getting it before Christmas (but let’s call it a Christmas gift). Now, SAR has been wrong before (oh brother have they) but I think they have it right this time. For you Sony fans Christmas may be coming early after all.