Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jazzy chili

It might not be my tastiest CHILI, but today's concoction is probably my JAZZIEST.
I listened to the 1961 MILES DAVIS album "SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME" while chopping, stirring and completing the other tasks associated with making a big pot of chili.

It might be my favorite Davis album.

JOHN COLTRANE pops up on a couple tracks and PAUL CHAMBERS and JIMMY COBB provide the bulk of the rhythm section.
Add WYNTON KELLY on piano and HANK MOBLEY on tenor saxophone and you've got a fantastic backing band for Davis on a clutch of great songs, including "Pfrancing" and "Teo."
We're pouring the chili over some hot dogs, preparing for the girls to go TRICK-OR-TREATING and for Jill and I to watch the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS in the WORLD SERIES.

Jazz, baseball, candy... That sounds like a good day to me.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Going with the Journey flow

They headlined the first gig I ever attended, but I have always had an uneasy relationship with JOURNEY.
Sure, Steve Perry and Neal Schon's band crafted some infectious songs. The problem for me was always how much airplay Journey received. Back in the day, it seemed like they *always* on the radio. Their popularity seemed tiresome to me.

As I noted, Journey headlined my first gig. They were supported by RONNIE MONTROSE at the CONCORD PAVILION back in 1978, when I was 12.

As Journey's popularity grew, my interest diminished. I turned to alternatives from overseas, such as punk rock.

I have been slowly warming back up to Journey during the postseason run of the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS.

It's hard not to do so. Giants fans at AT&T park sing along with Perry (pictured) to the Journey song, "Lights," while Bay Area musician ASHKON created the definitive fan video (see it by clicking here) by refashioning "Don't Stop Believing."

Journey's music seems to permeate this postseason run. I am leaning to put aside my past biases and go with the flow.

Friday, October 29, 2010

What do you want to accomplish?

Oh look!
The TEXAS RANGERS just walked another batter. Just kidding.

ROUTE 1 is currently caught up in SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS fever, which deepened during last night's 9-0 victory.

We expect to return to our normal routine at the conclusion of the FALL CLASSICâ„¢.

So, we won't accomplish some things we would like to do -- except on WORLD SERIES off days.

Which leads to this week's FRIDAY QUESTION:

"What are some things you want to accomplish, but just haven't gotten around to

RICK T. -- I want to take my wife out to California to see the Pacific Ocean, Donner Pass, and to try and find my grand-mother's grave.

SANDYE V. -- Write a novel and see it published by a real publisher (not self).

BEKAH P. -- OK, so this is a big thing -- getting my college degree. I was on my way to college overseas when my sister died, and I put it off, saying that I could always go back. Well, it really is harder than I thought. But I'm working on it.

MARY N.P. -- Most involve travel and as I get older, some of them will likely never happen, like going to New Zealand, Bali, Brazil. But I still intend to get to Uruguay (next Sept.), back to Spain, Germany, Italy and England and some other wonderful places.

ERIK H. -- I have some reading to catch up on when the World Series concludes. I still have unread books I purchased in London, nearly a year ago.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A most unusual October night

Usually on an OCTOBER night such as last night, I would have watched a little of the WORLD SERIES, checked in on the pro basketball scores and gone to bed early. This October isn't usual.
I wanted to pinch myself on more than one occasion last night: I couldn't quite believe that the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS were in the Fall Classic, let alone scoring in double-digits in an 11-7 victory over the TEXAS RANGERS.

It seemed more like a dream than reality.

The Giants had only hit .231 in the postseason going into last night's Game 1, scoring 30 runs in 10 games.

The bats took over in last night's dreamlike contest.

Freddy Sanchez hit three doubles, Juan Uribe crushed a three-run home run and Aubrey Huff collected three hits in the onslaught.

It was so unbelievable, and made for a most unusual October night.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"What's Up, Tiger Lily" delivers as usual

I needed a few laughs after a rather stressful day, and last night, "WHAT'S UP, TIGER LILY" delivered as usual.
The first film directed by WOODY ALLEN, this 1966 movie features a unique approach to comedy. Allen took a Japanese B-movie, "Kokusai Himitsu Keisatsu: Kagi No Kagi (International Secret Police: Key of Keys)" and completely overdubbed it with new voices.
The result is a madcap tale of secret agents attempting to capture an elusive egg salad recipe.
Japanese action star Tatsuya Mihasi finds himself overdubbed to become "PHIL MOSCOWITZ, LOVABLE ROGUE," and the beautiful Akiko Wakabayashi becomes "Suki Yaki," who escapes from a women's prison to work alongside Phil.

Allen provides them with the following banter:

Suki Yaki: I managed to find this dress in there, but not a stitch of underwear.
Phil Moscowitz: No underwear? I find that very interesting.
Suki Yaki: Don't excite yourself. I never sleep with a man who owns a dress.
Phil Moscowitz: Oh, neither do I. I feel exactly the same way.
It's all mindlessly hysterical fun. That was the exact recipe I needed last night.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Farewell to the Cool Ruler

GREGORY ISAACS was a reggae singer so smooth his nickname, "COOL RULER" went unchallenged.
When I heard that Isaacs had lost a battle with cancer yesterday, age 59, I quickly dialed up his name on my iPod.

I have 22 Isaacs songs on there. I decided to listen to as many as possible in tribute, so the girls and I heard Isaacs crooning such classics as "Night Nurse," "Loving Pauper" and "Love is Overdue" while driving to and from last night's DUBUQUE HALLOWEEN PARADE.

Isaacs was a wonderful vocalist, who would have starred in soul music had he been born in the States.

The Cool Ruler will be missed.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"One more for the ro-oh-oh-oh-oooad!"

It made sense listening to BOZ SCAGGS as we traveled back from central Iowa yesterday.
Here is why:

1. Smooth songs such as "Look What You've Done to Me" and the peerless "We're All Alone" seem perfectly suited for Sunday mornings.

2. The bluesier, rockier songs, such as "Breakdown Dead Ahead" and "Lido Shuffle" provide a great musical backdrop for driving long distances.

3. Scaggs is a San Francisco institution, and we're positively buzzing about the upcoming World Series appearance of the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS.

Heck, we might listen to Boz Scaggs all week!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I celebrate with Mimi in mind

I can't help but think of my late grandmother, MARGE "MIMI" SMITH whenever I listen to the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS on the radio.
Tonight, after celebrating my the second birthday of my nephew FINN at his home in COLFAX, IOWA, I was granted permission to turn down the sound on the television and log onto the audio feed of tonight's NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES game on KNBR 680 (via

My grandmother played every single Giants game on the radio -- without fail.

Visiting my grandparents' home often in the summer, I grew up hearing those games, and learning to love the team she loved, too.

Tonight, the celebration turned to baseball, as the Giants beat the two-time defending National League champions, the PHILLIES, 3-2, to advance to the WORLD SERIES.

Of course, I thought about Mimi. Go Giants, Mimi!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mottos in song

ROUTE 1 is feeling the effects of a pair of emotionally taxing sporting events today, following last night's baseball playoff loss by the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS paired with the euphoria of seeing MY BELOVED OREGON DUCKS demonstrate their college football prowess before a national television audience.
We seek words of wisdom to help us make sense of our (admittedly limited) world, and readers coast-to-coast have assisted by answering the following FRIDAY QUESTION:

"What song title could serve as a life motto?"

MIKE D. -- Being a creative type, how about John Lennon's "Imagine?" Whether your goal is a piece of art or world peace, it all starts with a vision.

RICK T. -- "It's Such a Pretty World Today" by Wynn Stewart.

BEKAH P. -- Easily the best answer you're going to receive is mine -- "I Will Survive."

ROSEANNE H. -- "Over the Rainbow."

SASKIA M. -- "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba.

LAURA C. -- "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

STEVE M. -- "Send in the Clowns."

JIM S. -- Boy, this depends on where I am in life. At times, it's been "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," by U2 or "Someday Never Comes," by Credence Clearwater Revival. At other times, "Oh Happy Day," by the Edwin Hawkins Singers or "I Gotta Feeling," by the Black Eyed Peas. But I guess my life motto song is an obscure one by Bread called "He's a Good Lad."

SANDYE V. -- Assuming you mean my life motto, I've gotta go with an old-time hymn, "I Love to Tell the Story." It works for me on a lot of levels because most of what I do in life is about stories, telling them in print and puppetry, sometimes even The Story.
ERIK H. -- Jimmy Cliff's "You Can Get it if You Really Want," the lead track from "The Harder They Come," suggests the positive aspects of never quitting. Here that, Giants?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I don't really need to write anything, eh? Go Giants!

Some things count more than records sold

We're listening to BBC RADIO 2 online this morning and PADDY MCALOON is crooning his way through the PREFAB SPROUT classic "CARS & GIRLS."
I say "classic," but the most remarkable thing about Prefab Sprout is that the timeless singles by the 80s English band never really sold as much as you might think, given their peerless quality.

"Cars & Girls," for example, only reached No. 44 in the U.K. singles chart and never made a peep in America.

The "big hit," "THE KING OF ROCK 'N' ROLL," peaked at No. 7 in Britain. It should have sold many more copies.

"When Love Breaks Down," "Faron Young," "Appetite" and other brilliant compositions either missed the Top 40 completely, or barely made a dent.

The buying public missed the mark.

Listening to Prefab Sprout this morning, it's easy to tell that the band's contemporaries might have sold more records, but McAloon and Company have better stood the more crucial test of time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's Ultraman time!

I required some goofy escapism last night, so I pulled the "ULTRAMAN" DVDs from the shelf.
I watched a pair of episodes of the 1966-67 Japanese tokusatsu (special effects) television program:


If you think a comet streaking toward a possible collision with Earth is bad, imagine the complicating factor of a monster digesting some hydrogen bombs.

Retrieving a fuse from a space probe on another planet would be easy, if it weren't for the monster who blinds people with its flashing eyes.
As a kid, I never thought much of the "Ultraman" series plots. I just wanted to see Ultraman fight monsters.

Actually, last night, I didn't really have much need for the plots, either. I just wanted to see Ultraman fight monsters.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A legend's birthday

Happy Birthday to CHUCK BERRY!
"Maybellene," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Rock and Roll Music," "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Johnny B. Goode," just to name a few.
Where would we be without Chuck Berry?!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Australia's first saint!

ROUTE 1 doesn't often veer from music, movies and sports into the religious realm, but MARY MACKILLOP is a special case.
Pope Benedict XVI officially canonised MacKillop this morning, making the 19th century nun AUSTRALIA'S FIRST SAINT -- it's a monumental source of pride in a nation established more than 200 years ago as a penal colony overwhelmingly housing Catholics.

In 1860, MacKillop left her native Melbourne to teach in rural PENOLA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA. Here, with the REV. JULIAN TENISON WOODS, she founded the SISTERS OF SAINT JOSEPH OF THE SACRED HEART.

Aussies love to give things nicknames, so the order is known as the "BROWN JOEYS" for the original habit colors.

By 1869, there were 72 sisters in the order, teaching in 21 schools, an orphanage and a women's refuge.

The Brown Joeys focused on assisting Australia's neediest children.

The religious order's focus on the needy without regard for the Adelaide bishop's bureaucracy -- and the Brown Joeys' uncovering of a sexual-abusing priest -- had MacKillop briefly excommunicated. Six days before he died, the bishop lifted his excommunication order and admitted his mistake.

MacKillop died in 1909. The order continued to thrive. Today, about 850 sisters work throughout Australia and New Zealand and as far away as Peru.

The canonisation process is a long one and includes a pair of documented miracles -- two cancer patients who went into remission after praying to MacKillop.

Today, MacKillop took her place among the other saints. She's now known as SAINT MARY OF THE CROSS.

She's not just the first saint from Down Under. She's an Aussie role model.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Two likely heroes and an unlikely one

Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson and Cody Ross.
The SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS took Game 1 of the NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES with a 4-3 victory over the PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES, thanks to two likely heroes and an unlikely one.

Lincecum (pictured) struck out eight in seven innings and out-dueled Philly ace Roy Halladay.

Wilson struck out four in 1-1/3 innings (while rattling nerves, as usual) to pick up the save.

No surprises there. Ross was the surprise.

The Giants only picked up Ross off the waiver wire late in the season so the rival Padres couldn't get the Florida outfielder. Tonight, Ross homered twice against Halladay to help spark the San Francisco offense into life.

I think of my late grandmother Marge "Mimi" Smith and my late father George Walter Hogstrom when I watch the Giants. Tonight, I think my family's pioneering Giants fans were watching from above -- at two likely heroes and an unlikely one, too.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Be true to your school, siss boom bah

It's HOMECOMING WEEK at ROUTE 1 -- Monday was "Just Rolled Out of Bed Day" -- and it's time for a school-themed FRIDAY QUESTION:
"What is your favorite high-school tradition?"

LISA Y. -- At our high school they sold these HUGE white mums the everyone would wear the night of the game. The had a little pipe cleaner "W" on them for West High.

RICK T. -- Homecoming!

BEKAH P. -- Graduation. No, seriously, I couldn't have been more happy when that version of hell ended.

SANDYE V. -- My high school (Morton East in Cicero, Ill.) had a tradition of elaborate birthday celebrations, at least for girls. Your friends would collect donations for weeks before. On your birthday you would get: a corsage, stuffed animals, cascading ribbons of gum to wear (and share) and giant cards drawn on poster paper taped to your locker. People would autograph them all day. It was amazing and a lot of fun.

JOHN S. -- On the Mustang soccer team we used to do a "horse dance" after scoring a goal.

ERIK H. -- Central High School in Phoenix, Ariz., once had some raucous pep assemblies, with a DEVO-inspired rock band providing music.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An "Einstein" of goofy comedy

I have been watching some of the third and final season of "ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT" on DVD.
One of the minor characters featured is Larry Middleman, a surrogate for the Bluth patriarch George Sr. Kept in the family penthouse because of a house arrest order, George remains involved in family meetings through the surrogate, who is wired with a headset and a small video camera attached to his forehead (under the bill of a baseball cap marked "surrogate").

Some of the characters address Middleman (a hilariously appropriate name) as he *was* their father, and not just a surrogate.

If Middleman looks familiar (and he certainly sounds familiar to me), it's because the character is played by BOB EINSTEIN.

You might have seen Einstein in "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

I remember laughing at him for years in his would-be daredevil guise -- SUPER DAVE OSBORNE.

Throughout the 70s, 80s and early 90s, Super Dave would appear on television attempting ridiculously difficult stunts, which would invariably, miserably fail.

Einstein comes from a comedic family -- his younger brother is actor Albert Brooks -- and I love the bizarre humor he injected into "Arrested Development."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The song that seems to sum up the rescue

We listened to some ELTON JOHN this morning while reading about the rescue of the CHILEAN MINERS.
"DON'T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME," with it's lyrical references to light and darkness, and theme of threatened lost love, seemed appropriate.

The 1974 single peaked at No. 16 in John's native U.K., and stalled at No. 2 in America -- kept off the top spot by John Denver's "Annie's Song," Roberta Flack's "Feel Like Makin' Love" and Paper Lace's "The Night Chicago Died."

The miners' rescue is such a remarkable story.

The 33 men have spent 69 days trapped underground -- longer than anyone on record.
Thus far, 10 of the men have been retrieved from their underground home for the past two month.
The last miner is slated to be shift foreman Luis Urzua, credited for helping the men endure 17 days with no outside contact after the collapse.
I guess that's why "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" seems like the most appropriate tune.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Oh yes, I like it. Screaming like never before"

For some reason, the ENRIQUE IGLESIAS AND PITBULL collaboration "I LIKE IT" played in my head as the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS wrapped up their NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISIONAL SERIES victory against the ATLANTA BRAVES.
I did like that the Giants -- a team I have fervently followed since childhood -- won last night's game, 3-2, to clinch the series, 3 games to 1.

I just don't necessarily like how the Giants accomplished their series victory: Three nail-bitingly narrow victories (1-0, 3-2 and 3-2) with a heartbreaking loss (5-4 in 11 innings) thrown into the mix for good measure.

Supporting the Giants has clearly taken an emotional toll throughout the years (the trauma of the 2002 World Series loss still feels fresh).

I guess the real question should be: Why did I think this series against the Braves would be any different?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Remembering Solomon Burke

I'm listening to the departed soul legend SOLOMON BURKE, who died this weekend age 70.
We only have three Burke songs in our collection, but they are marvelous:

"EVERYBODY NEEDS SOMEBODY TO LOVE" sounds like definitive soul -- a secular song that feels like it was recorded in a church.

"CRY TO ME" hit the charts twice, when it was originally released in the 1960s and again when it was featured in "Dirty Dancing."

"GOT TO GET YOU OFF MY MIND" topped Billboard's "Hot Black Singles" chart for three weeks in 1965.

I'll probably play these three songs on repeat today. It's the least I can do to honor this fallen giant of modern R&B.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Root Down" fits my autumn mood

It's that time of the year.
Every AUTUMN the mood strikes me -- the JAZZ mood.

I listened to the funky, jazzy 1972 classic album "ROOT DOWN-JIMMY SMITH LIVE" by organist JIMMY SMITH while walking the dog and cleaning the bathroom today.

Many music fans know about the title tune, "Root Down," for the BEASTIE BOYS' extensive sampling of the song on their 1994 track, "Root Down."

The remainder of Smith's album is fantastic, particularly the funk-driven guitar of ARTHUR ADAMS.

Adams is one of music's rather unsung heroes, who deserves wider recognition.

He played and recorded with B.B. King -- writing the songs "Mean and Evil" and "Something Up My Sleeve" for the blues giant. Adams also played guitar on Bonnie Raitt's "Nick of Time."

The Crusaders, Johnnie Guitar Watson and Dr. John are other artists who have benefited from Adams' fret work.

His contributions are among the memorable components of "Root Down," an album that helped propel me on a beautiful fall day.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

That joke STILL isn't funny anymore

It's RIDICULOUSLY NICE OUTSIDE -- the sun is shining, temperatures are rising to true Indian Summer level and the leaves are turning on the trees.
At least, that's what it looks like, outside the window of the office I am sitting in during a Saturday at work. I haven't been outside enough to experience today's weather myself.
Working on a beautiful day makes me feel rather MELANCHOLY, so I am reveling in the mood by listening to some singles by THE SMITHS, including "THAT JOKE ISN'T FUNNY ANYMORE."
The "MEAT IS MURDER" track was the band's eighth single and probably the band's saddest single in tone.
"When you laugh about people who feel so very lonely their only desire is to die, well, I'm afraid it doesn't make me smile."
The song is making me smile, however, as I listen and reflect on the difference between the glorious outdoors against the work-a-day existence of the office.
"I've seen this happen in other peoples' lives, and now it's happening in mine..."

Friday, October 08, 2010

Not just topsy, not just turvy -- it's topsy turvy

The novelty of watching the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS while the leaves change color is so unusual, it's like the world is suddenly spinning upside down.
ROUTE 1 readers know the feeling, as they proclaim by answering the following FRIDAY QUESTION:

"What is the most topsy turvy aspect of your life?"

RICK T. -- Living day to day!

MIKE M. -- My seven-year-old daughter Rebecca is the only girl on the Dubuque Packers Mighty Mites football team. I'm afraid she'll get hurt physically or emotionally, but also worry that she's not aggressive enough. While I have anxiety attacks on the sidelines, RJ seems to be having great fun on the field.

KERSTIN H. -- My dad has always lived in the U.S., but on his iPod he has a playlist for every major country except the U.S.

JIM S. -- Not to be too somber or melodramatic, but since my first wife, Jane, died, I've felt myself take on many motherly characteristics. Most of them seem to deal with being more worried about them or feeling their pain. In the past, I had to cover for Jane's worries and pains over her boys, so I didn't have time to feel them as much. But it's been as good as it could be, thank God.

KERI M. -- Adjusting to my new school from my old schools ways.

ERIK H. -- My dog acts like a cat (sitting on the top of the couch, curling up in the sun to nap, eating cat food) while one of my cats acts like a dog (licking my face, retrieving small toys, eating dog food).

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Glee for the "Glee" cast as they surpass The Beatles

JILL AND THE GIRLS are fans, but I can honestly say I have never watched an entire episode of "GLEE."
The television show made history recently, stunning and probably saddening some music fans in the process.

In the clearest example yet of how the musical landscape has changed, the cast of "Glee" claimed one of the BEATLES' sales records. The TV singers have recorded 75 U.S. Top-100 singles. The Beatles' record had been 71.

While the Beatles amassed their hit record with original, enduring music, "Glee" cast members have recorded cover versions of established tunes.
Our family has purchased at least a couple "Glee" songs from iTunes -- part of the 11.5 million downloads the cast has sold.
"The covers they do are really good," KERSTIN said. "They don't try it better than the original artist. They rock to their own beat."

I don't mind originally rendered covers -- but not if it's a group's only musical contribution.

Does this sort of instant, almost "borrowed" success discourage existing musical groups from striving for success? I fear it does, and it makes me worried for music's future.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A little jidaigeki before the baseball reconvenes

My evenings are about to be devoted to following postseason BASEBALL (thank you, SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS).
I was free last night of this upcoming emotional burden, so I enjoyed watching a classic Japanese JIDAIGEKI (period drama film).

The 1966 KIHACHI OKAMOTO film "DAIBOSATSU TOGE (SWORD OF DOOM)" stars TATSUYA NAKADAI as an amoral master swordsman whose emotionless slaughter of guilty and innocent alike helped set the stage for numerous antihero characters in the films of the late 1960s and 70s.

It's a film of stirring action, as well as a beautiful film.

I tend to watch films on DVD more often during the fall and winter months -- I spend my spring and summer evenings listening to radio broadcasts of Giants games. Hopefully, nights like last night -- with Okamoto's film -- will be postponed by some San Francisco playoff victories.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Spiderbait and Weed -- I never knew the connection

I've been listening to a lot of SPIDERBAIT recently.
Along with Powderfinger, this MELBOURNE trio are among my favorite contemporary AUSTRALIAN bands (although, Powderfinger are currently embarked on their farewell tour, so their "contemporary" tag won't remain for long).

I've just learned there is a connection between Spiderbait -- drummer/singer Kram (Mark Maher), bassist/singer Janet English and guitarist Whitt (Damian Whitty) -- and the little town of WEED, CALIF., a Siskiyou County community not far from towering MOUNT SHASTA.

Spiderbait recorded its sixth album, "TONIGHT ALRIGHT," in 2004 in Weed with American producer Sylvia Massy. The album includes Spiderbait's Aussie chart-topping cover version of the blues standard "BLACK BETTY."

The album reached Gold status Down Under, and I had no idea there was a northern California connection until reading about "Tonight Alright" in Melbourne's Age newspaper.
I have passed Weed countless times in my life, driving from the Bay Area up Interstate 5 to my dad's hometown of Medford, Ore.
Little did I know it would provide the epicenter for the creation of a great album.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Giants provide that opiate feeling

I'm sitting here with that happy kind of opiate feeling that comes over me whenever the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS clinch a playoff spot.
It's not a common feeling: The Giants last made the postseason in 2003.

The feeling wasn't quite as pure back in 2003, because the team's success felt tainted by the (alleged) artificial prowess of Barry Bonds.

This year's Giants team is a collection of battle-hardened veterans who have never tasted success (Aubrey Huff, for example) and young guys just happy to be playing big-league baseball (Buster Posey, for example). There's no perceived villain, like Bonds. It seems like a team of "regular guys."

The pitching staff is great, the offense is sometimes anemic, and the club's unofficial slogan is "GIANTS BASEBALL: IT'S TORTURE."

Well, bring on your torture. I'll take the postseason version with a big smile.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

My body also wants a Vegemite sandwich

Do you come from a land Down Under?
No, but I have tricked my body's internal clock into thinking that I do.

Through a combination of naps and late-night coffee, I trained my body to remain awake for a pair of FOOTY FINALS held in MELBOURNE and SYDNEY.

I watched Saturday afternoon (AUSTRALIA time, the middle of Friday night/Saturday morning for us) as COLLINGWOOD defeated ST. KILDA in the AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE GRAND FINAL REPLAY, 16.12 (108) to 7.10 (52). The two sides had drawn the original Grand Final, held last weekend.

Both AFL games were broadcast live in America on the ESPN Classic Network.

I also listened live Sunday evening (Australia time, during the wee hours of this morning for us) as ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA defeated the SYDNEY ROOSTERS, 32-8, to win the NATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE GRAND FINAL, ending a 31-year title drought for the Dragons.

As I have for most of the season, I listened to CONTINUOUS CALL TEAM coverage of the rugby league match on Sydney radio station 2GB 873.

I woke up at 12:30 p.m., unsure of the time of day, thanks to the pair of footy finals. My body thinks it's some time early Monday morning. It's probably wondering why I just started a big pot of spaghetti sauce.
Following them live became a priority for me after my recent trip to Sydney. It's hard not to become addicted to Australian sports when everybody in that country is terribly addicted as well.

I don't want my body to know, but we'll be switching back over to Australia time come November. The ASHES CRICKET SERIES between the Aussies and England starts in Brisbane.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Films to ward off autumnal chill

ROUTE 1 is just going to check the weekend temperatures to see about the -- EEEEEEEEEEEEEGADS but it's gonna be cold!
What happened to the "Indian Summer?"

While OLD MAN WINTER appears to sneak his foot in the door of AUTUMN, readers prepare for the chill by answering the following FRIDAY QUESTION:

"What's a good movie for staying inside on a cold night?"

RICK T. -- Watch "On Golden Pond!"

BEKAH P. -- Every single fall I watch two movies --- "Rudy" and "Anne of Green Gables." They're the perfect fall flicks!

KERSTIN H. -- "Twilight."

MARY N.-P. -- With its outlandish story line, bizarrely sexy costumes, over-the-top energy level and fabulous songs, the one and only, "Rocky Horror Picture Show" will heat up any dreary winter evening!

MIKE D. -- Bruce Willis' "Die Hard" four movies are always an entertaining option in the blow 'em up genre. The first was probably the best in the series; the third ("Die Hard: With a Vengeance") was my least favorite. The best demise of a villain was in the second. "Take that under advisement, jerkweed!"

SASKIA M. -- For me: any old "cheezy" Doris Day movie!

ERIK H. -- There are many films that fit this bill. Given his recent medical issues, I'll pick the 1995 Michael Douglas vehicle "The American President." Douglas is the epitome of presidential cool in this film, directed by Rob Reiner and written by Aaron Sorkin. Our family likes to stake out positions on the couch and pull on warm blankets to watch this film.