Evil Dead – The Musical ?

Hello and welcome to my blog! If you choose to sing my words to the cadence of Baby Got Back in your mind (or out loud) that is your call! Now here’s my scandal…

It was a dark and non-stormy evening in St Louis last night. Cars and geographical landmarks whizzed by as we were late for something that started at 7:30pm or pretty close to that time. We exited the highway and soon approached the Fox Theater…then kept going per the insistence of the GPS lady’s voice. At the next block, we saw The Grandel Theater and turned left. Ah, so this was the destination! With haste, we parked and hurried inside with the time reading 7:40pm. A playbill was offered and some loose props were available to take selfies with but we were ushered inside to our seats. Luckily we had only missed a couple of minutes of the beginning of the play.

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I wanna be famous…

…said the seven year old boy.

 Good morning and welcome to mid-month October. Over the weekend I got to spend an extended period of time with my fiancé’s seven year old son Ayden. We normally spend evenings together during the week but from Friday night through Saturday and Sunday afternoon, it was just us dudes. He went to softball with me on Friday and supervised while I mowed the lawn and power-washed the deck on Saturday. We ate together and went to Walmart together and played some Uno and the board game Clue together. Back-tracking to the morning hours of Saturday, we went out to Hillsboro to visit my friend Matt who had been storing some of my belongings in his basement. While we were there visiting, we (me and Matt) were using the Tetris method to load my belongings into my spatially challenged car. But in the end, everything fit!

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2017 Cleveland Indians – Final

I woke up this morning and the sky was a hazy gray. When I stepped outside, a fine mist greeted me. It was fitting. Depressing the remote entry button for the car, I proceeded to get into my 2015 Hyundai Sonata and situate myself. After the usual routine of locking in my seat belt, my next order of business was turning on my Zune player and pulling up my Linkin Park folder of albums. From there I selected Play All. Why was this my selection over perhaps some local radio chatter or one of the thirty CD options at my disposal? It just felt like the way to go in my gut, so I ran with it.

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Where are you Jeffrey Maier??

Today is October 11, 2017. This is the month of October and coinciding with the MLB playoffs leading up to the World Series. Let’s step back in time for a moment to 1996, October 9th to be exact. There was a baseball game that took place in New York between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. A 12-year old boy had the biggest influence on this baseball game played by professional athletes. The beneficiary of Jeffrey Maier’s interference was Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees franchise. On this particular day, Derek Jeter hit a deep fly ball near the top of the outfield wall. Orioles’ outfielder Tony Tarasco tracked the ball’s trajectory and settled under the spot the ball was descending towards. Mr. Tarasco reached up to secure the ball, for the catch, for an out…but uh, oh. The ball never reached his glove.

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October 3rd – (Unofficial) National Mean Girls Day

 Don’t know what I’m talking about with the title…Google it. And forgive me. 

In addition to paying homage to one of the greatest teen comedies of all-time (highly subjective judging here), I was cruising along the news feeds on the internet. Obviously dominating the headlines is the senseless tragedy from Las Vegas where a shooter killed nearly five dozen people and injured hundreds more. On an also somber note, the music legend Tom Petty has left the stage. 

In an effort to get away from the death and sadness, I ran across an article warning of an asteroid that will pass ‘near’ the Earth on October 12, 2017. Glad for the distraction, I clicked the link and read some NASA provided details on an asteroid set to ‘pass by’ the Earth on the 12th. Now when I hear ‘asteroid’ and ‘near the Earth’, my mind jumps to the 1998 movie classic Armageddon featuring Bruce Willis, Ben Allfeck, Billy Bob Thornton and Liv Tyler (plus many more!). The plot of that movie was an end of the world scenario where a chuck of space rock, roughly the size of the state of Texas, is on a collision course with Mother Earth! Oh no! The end is nigh! But wait! The scrappy human race puts together a debatable ‘Dream Team’ to try to blast this rock apart and save our existence (at least on this plain). Despite the critical review of the late Roger Ebert (one star out of five rating), may he rest in peace, the film cost $140,000,000 to make but recouped that plus more in a total box office take of $553,700,000. This just goes to show, that artistically speaking (yes I’m talking about you Michael Bay of Transformers fame and considerable fortune), sometimes the people just want a cool story, special effects and a big name to entertain them for two hours even if the logical stuff falls flat.

 

Getting back to the present: Should we be concerned about this asteroid hurtling through our relative space? According to NASA, not so much. In the movie, the rock chunk was the size of Texas. The one coming in 9 days is the roughly the size of a bloated T-Rex. Also this T-Rex-sized rock mass is not supposed to be coming directly at the Earth, but about 31,100 miles to the side. So the planet, all applicable satellites and assorted space stuff alike should be good to go.

 Below is a link to a Wikipedia site that details the three dozen or so other notable asteroid incidents from 2017 so far.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_asteroid_close_approaches_to_Earth_in_2017

 Hope your Tuesday is bright, pleasant and filled with adoring pets!

 Peace.

 

Kluber vs. Sale – An American League CY Young Discussion

Happy Spiffy Goodish Day!

First off, obviously I am a bit biased as I am a Cleveland Indians fan AND I dislike the Boston Red Sox. Throw into the mix that Chris Sale came from the Chicago White Sox, a hated AL Central Division foe, and the appearance of my bias solidifies even more. To a certain extent I cannot deny these allegations. But for the record, I can see and argue a case for both pitchers. Now, let the nitpicking contest begin!

Both have had dominant seasons. Kluber’s season has a small caveat in that he missed three weeks in May with a DL (Disabled List) stint. Some could argue that the ‘time off’ has helped him recharge, whereas Chris Sale has not missed a single start this season. But even so, their stat-lines are very comparable. Presently Kluber is about 40 strikeouts behind Sale but his other numbers are relative to Sale’s (lower) in: walks allowed and runs allowed in about 19 less innings. They both boast 17 personal victories and for their respective teams, the team winning percentage is above .700 in games in which they start. Sale had slightly more run support in his starts (5.6 vs 5.2) but like I said, at this point it’s just nitpicking.

If we look at the stretch run of August and September, Kluber is 9-1 (team 9-1) and only had one game where he allowed 3 runs (or more) and walked more than one batter (the only game he lost, 3 ER 2 BB). For Sale in August and September, he is 4-3 (team 7-3). He had five games of 3 or more runs allowed and four games where he walked multiple batters. Even so, this is not horrible for Sale’s case within the context of his 2017 body of work. If we annex the month of July to try to illuminate an argument one way or the other for the two pitchers, Sale was 3-1 (team 3-2). But in the games he pitched, he only allowed runs (4) in one of those five starts covering 34 2/3 innings (the bullpen did give up some runs after he left). In Kluber’s five July starts, he was 1-1 (team 2-3) and did not post any shutout games. He allowed only one run in three of those starts but did not receive much support until his last two starts in July.

During the season, both pitchers suffered losses by the count of 1-0 when their respective teams did not score. Sale’s longest personal winning streak in-season was 7 games. Kluber’s was/is five as of today including his current streak. Kluber also had another five game winning streak from July to August. Similar in each losing a 1-0 contest, both pitchers had their shortest outing of the year only last three innings. Both pitchers pitch for first place teams and are their respective team’s aces. One is left handed and one is right handed. With each pitcher probably only making two more starts in the regular season, how will this race finish out?

If you want to crunch and munch some numbers, I’ve attached a spreadsheet of some vital stats (in my opinion). Whether you are a baseball fan or not, hopefully you at least found the post and arguments contained herewith to be somewhat interesting.

Obviously I would like my guy (Klubot) to win but I honestly would not be terribly upset if Sale would take the crown. I would much prefer Sale to capture the Cy Young Award but Kluber and the Indians to capture the World Series title!

#GoTribe #Believeland #ChiefWahoo #CartoonIndiansForever #HeIsSmilingOnMyHat #ScrewYouRobManfred

Peace.

Kluber-Sale Comparision 09212017

<<09-21-2017>>

Leave Out All The Rest…

When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed
And don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest

Forgetting
All the hurt inside you’ve learned to hide so well
Pretending
Someone else can come and save me from myself
I can’t be who you are

 

Eerily this is one of my favorite Linkin Park songs and this passage is tragically appropriate today. It was only two months ago I posted a tribute to Chris Cornell acknowledging his suicidal passing. Today, on Chris’s birthday, the world lost a tremendous talent and creative force from within the band Linkin Park. Chester Bennington has passed from this world and the world will never be the same.

As someone who has struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts since I was 14 it’s a hammer blow to absorb. On many of my darkest days, I used music to help me ride the roller coaster of emotions that tormented and eroded my spirit. It’s a highly sensitive subject and not one I’m looking to debate today.

I noted in my piece on Robin Williams that it is amazing how someone you have never spoken to or met can have such a profound effect on your life, philosophy and emotions. To Robin, Chris and Chester…RIP and thank you for what you have given me.

A moment for everyone’s loss…

Peace.

<<07-20-2017>>

Cleveland Indians 7-19-2017 Underwhelming Defending AL Champs

Somewhere there is a sunset in progress. It just depends on where on this Earth you are if you can view it or not. That is a nice tranquil thought and mental picture. Now let’s talk about my Cleveland Indians in first place in the American League Central Division of Major League Baseball.

Meh.

That is a pretty accurate way to describe the state of the Indians these days. Five games after the All-Star Break against the bottom feeders from California, Oakland and San Francisco respectively, and the team is 1-4. In those five games they have scored: 0, 3, 3, 5 and 1 in terms of runs. By MLB standards that is sub-standard. In the month of July, for the team that was tied in the ninth inning of game seven of the World Series in 2016, Cleveland has won only 6 of 14 games. They lead second place Minnesota by 1.5 games and third place Kansas City by 3 games. The Indians won-loss record is presently 48 wins and 44 losses putting them on par with the New York Yankees who currently occupy the second wildcard position for postseason play positioning.

From a personnel standpoint, the fourth and fifth starters in the pitching rotation (Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer) have been tough to watch for the most part. For the most part the pitching staff has been quasi-healthy minus Kluber’s hiatus for his back. The enigmatic Danny Salazar was minimally effective before developing a convenient injury. A slew of injuries has put a harsh spotlight on the thin offensive depth of the team. Offensively speaking, there has been a huge hole caused by Jason Kipnis being injured. When Jose Ramirez is plugged in at second base for defense, that opens up a hole at third base. The biggest problem has been the revolving door in the outfield with Lonnie Chisenhall visiting the DL multiple times and Tyler Naquin not being healthy almost all year. Brandon Guyer has been atrocious (period). Austin Jackson has been a nice surprise but cannot stay healthy and Abraham Almonte is a 4th-5th outfielder on most teams. The catching tandem of Roberto Perez and Yan Gomes has given virtually nothing on the offensive side. They both hit right around the Mendoza line and have combined to produce 7 homeruns and 37 RBI while striking out nearly 30 percent of the time. There is a similar production line or lack thereof from Jason Kipnis this year with his 8 homeruns and 26 RBI. He is only striking out about 19 percent of the time but he is also on pace for about 10 stolen bases this year which would be his lowest total since his rookie season when he stole 5 bases in 36 games. Which brings us to Carlos Santana. Is he a first baseman or is he a DH? You look at his body of work this year and with the glaring exception of the homerun category he is on pace to basically do what he has done the past three years. With the presence of Juan Encarnacion, Carlos seems a bit redundant in his skill set.

OK with the rundown of what isn’t working so far this year, the question shifts to what should/can be done to fix it? A Major League baseball team is a tough thing to boil down to a formula. Every single game can hinge on literally one pitch to take a win and make it into a loss. Even the best teams every year find a way to lose around 60 ball games in the regular season. There is no ‘running game’ for a baseball contest to limit the other team’s chances. You have to get at minimum of 27 outs (barring weather shortened games) from the other team and all the necessary pitches and catches that accompany those. Even on the worst teams, there are still guys trying to do well so they can keep their Major League job for this year or to parlay their stats into a big payday for years to come. So here is my list of guys to package up and trade or straight up DFA: Tomlin, Bauer, Gomes, Guyer, Almonte, Santana, Salazar, Kipnis and Jackson. Some of these guys are currently injured which makes this process difficult.

Each team has an active 25-man roster so in doing the math, I am suggesting a pretty significant amount of shuffling of the current roster. The last three players noted are on the disabled list but the rest are all fair game. As I see it, the club currently needs an everyday centerfielder, a new second baseman, a fresh face at catcher and at least one new member of the rotation if not two. It was about this time last year that Josh Tomlin got demoted to the bullpen so history may be repeating itself soon. Bauer has been a perplexing, head-shaking case of talent versus harnessing his talent (see Jason Davis circa 2002).

I know this sounds like the ranting of a frustrated Indians fan and it most certainly is. Last year was such a vicious tease and this year has been a great opportunity that has mostly been squandered. I will suggest trading for the St Louis Cardinals Carson Kelly, the Oakland A’s Sonny Gray and the Atlanta Braves Brandon Phillips. From there I will just hope no one else gets hurt and Tyler Naquin can return and play like he did last year. If not, this team may be done before the first week of October is over.

Go Tribe!

P.S. Tito stop eating all the junk food. Have some asparagus at least twice a week and it will be all good.
P.S.S. On their current pace, the team would finish with a won-loss record of 85 wins and 77 losses which is pretty sad and probably not going to get it done in terms of clinching a playoff spot. #JustSaying

Peace.

Def Leppard, Poison…and Tesla (St Louis, MO)

And the sign said “Long-haired freaky people need not apply”… The best part of Tesla’s abbreviated opening set for the rock show triple-header was their cover of the song “Signs”, originally done by Five Man Electrical Band. Soon thereafter, they performed their signature hit “Love Song” and it was not great. The years have not been kind to Jeff Keith’s voice (lead singer for Tesla). For much of their performance, the front man’s vocals sounded irritatingly enough like C.C. Deville’s cat-in-heat stylings to make my left eye twitch. But as I mentioned, the set was brief so mostly no harm no foul.

The setting: we were inside the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, having procured lawn ‘seats’. Once inside, we rented actual lawn chairs so as to not have to sit on the hard grass covered earth. For the record, the lawn seat rental was $5 for each chair. I mention this because it does not detail this information on Live Nation’s website and no one from their customer relations would answer my email on this topic. Moving along, Kristi rented a 25 oz Michelob Ultra beer complete with generic venue can coozy…and I opted to start with a souvenir size Wild Cherry Pepsi. The very flimsy plastic souvenir cup did have the caveat of free refills but I did not tap this renewable resource and later, left the cup for the clean up crew. Once these expenditures were checked off the virtual list, we proceeded to the merchandise booth. After a typical lengthy wait to advance to the front of the line, we surveyed the offerings ranging from bandanas to t-shirts to hoodies. (Sarcasm alert) Of course, I think I need a $65 hoodie when the outside air temperature is right around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If it was 90 degrees Celsius, I think everyone would have been nothing but charred meat because the Fahrenheit to Celsius ratio is almost two to one. So 90 degrees Celsius would equate to nearly 194 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s even hotter than Arizona most days I think. But it was a ‘moist’ kind of heat, as is the norm here in St Louis during the summer.

Where was I again? Oh yeah, in line at the ‘T-shirt Booth’ checking out the options. Here I will give credit though. Despite the outlandish prices, there were quite a few t-shirt options of each group for the consumer to consider. When all was said and done (paid for), I opted for a bluish background concert shirt, size large, of Poison with cool artwork on the front and tour dates on the back. Kristi opted for the ‘lineup’ concert shirt, which had all three bands on the front and the concert dates on the back. Let the record show, her shirt is black. After our transactions were transacted, we meandered up onto the hill (or the lawn) where it is policy for lawn seat customer to choose anywhere to sit. For those of you who have never been to the venue formerly known as Riverport Amphitheater (as named from 1991 through 2002), imagine a baseball or softball field. If you were looking from the outfield in, the stage would be ‘home plate’, next is the physical seating area or the infield and beyond that is the lawn seating or the outfield. For this event, we choose to put down our rental lawn chairs in deep right centerfield.

After Tesla grounded out weakly to the pitcher, next up to bat was Poison. They played their usual list of fan favorites and allowed the crowd to ‘Talk Dirty’ to them in chorus. Mr. Bret Michaels played my personal favorite song of theirs, “Something To Believe In”, partially acoustic. He dedicated the song to the military personnel and their families in attendance. The song’s back story is entangled with the events surrounding Bret’s personal bodyguard and close personal friend’s suicide. His friend was former military. I always feel a lump in my throat and tears form in the corners of my eyes when I hear this song. It’s just a close to the bone, heart-felt song about loss and daily life. Even from a few hundred feet away, the band sounded great and they had nice energy throughout their whole set. Bret mentioned St Louis about 35 times in their hour long set and it got a huge pop each time he said it. They took care of business and relinquished the stage to be prepped for the headliner: Def Leppard.

Def Leppard took the stage and opened with Let’s Go, from their 2015 self-titled album, which I was not familiar with until I looked it up today. They put on a solid show and I have to say my favorite song they played wasn’t even one of their own. Don’t mistake what I’m saying. Animal – great. Foolin – very cool. Love Bites – well done. Armadeddon It – always fun. Rocket – drunktastic! Bringing on the Heartbreak – nicely done. Hysteria – good good. Pour Some Sugar On Me – lots of pop and crown antics. But my favorite part of their set was their cover of the 1973 classic Rock On. Originally done by David Essex and remade in 1989 by Michael Damian (of Young and the Restless daytime drama fame) this song was killer. Gnarly. Awesome! Whoa! Tubular! Rock On!

Now some of you may have been in the house for this show or seen them in your own city and may be asking about one of their more popular songs: Let’s Get Rocked. Yeah they played it. Yeah it went over real well with the crowd. Yeah I sung along (because I know all 9 words to the song). But if I must be honest, I don’t particularly care for this fluff piece. And that is not a swipe at my friend Jacob Werner aka Fluff. It’s just me saying I think the song is a big nothing…like most of the band Kiss’s catalog. I was hoping against hope for an inclusion from their album ‘X’ in the form of track number five: Long, Long Way To Go or just about anything else from this effort. But no dice and a little disappointment for me. C’mon guys! You were a few measly hours away from my birthday…and couldn’t squeeze another four or so minutes in? Boo!

The 2.5 bands performed admirably but another huge component to the concert experience is the people watching. It is always interesting to check out the age spans in attendance for bands that started 36, 37 and 40 years ago respectively (Tesla, Poison, Def Leppard). Also as the night wears on and the thresholds for sobriety are breached, everything turns into a Jerry Springer episode. To the jackwagon who literally was throwing handfuls of sugar (LeBron James style) during Def Leppard’s performance of Pour Some Sugar on Me…to the two older ladies who were trying to accost me in the beer purchase line…it was entertainment at it’s finest. Footnote: To the dorkbags behind us in line waiting to initially enter the venue, shut up. Stop reading the set list for each group for the show. Maybe some of us do not want to know what’s coming up and just want to be pleasantly surprised when the first few chords of each song plays out. #MamasBasementDwellerDorksForLife

In closing, I think the shows duration and atmosphere were worth the $80 paid for the two tickets. I’m not sure if I can say the same for the amount spent on beers, soda and t-shirts but that’s the risk you run with going to such a show.

One last thing before I mentally walk out of the gates from last night; during the Def Leppard set, Kristi needed to visit the restroom facilities. I, being a gentleman, escorted her as it was now dark outside and amidst the thousands of peoples it’s just a better idea to stick together. On our return trip to the lawn, we encountered a gentleman who closely resembled the Poison front man Bret Michaels! But upon closer inspection and actually asking him if he was…the answer was no. It turns out the guy was a Bret Michaels impersonator and has performed locally at Pop’s Night Club over in Sauget, Illinois. Besides his likeness resembling Bret Michaels, his choice of t-shirt was what actually caught my initial attention. He was wearing a pristine Warrant concert t-shirt, with the band’s name in bright green neon letters. I had a short conversation with him and told him I liked his shirt and the world was still missing Jani Lane. He agreed with my sentiments and shook my hand. He waved and said for us to enjoy the rest of the show. It was fitting to see someone at this type of show wearing a Warrant shirt because for so many years (before Jani’s death) Warrant would tour with Poison for summer rock shows like this and at this venue no less.

Time to take a bow, wave to the crowd and slowly walk off the stage.

Peace.

Love Actually…Is Still All Around

It is mid-June and the temperatures outside are 90+ degrees so of course I am listening to Hugh Grant narrate the opening sequence of Love Actually (from 2003) in anticipation of the Christmas themed two hour movie. I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes…

Sorry cheesy movie quote drop in was a must. Bill Nighy (Billy Mack on screen), I hope you are doing well. From here I can branch out into more than a handful of other Hugh Grant films but at the risk of having whatever shred of masculinity I still possess confiscated, we shall move along.

Today is yet another Monday. Each year seems to have about 52 or 53 of them but here lately the Mondays seem to flow like the waters of Yosemite Falls (which is one of the tallest waterfalls in the world and resides in California). My work group tried to ensnare the Powerball lottery winnings but unless someone stepped through a wormhole portal into California this past week, I do not think my group will be ‘retiring’ just yet. As I talked about in my personal Podbean podcast (The Freak Show), I played some softball over the weekend and congratulated the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins on successfully defending their title. They are currently the John Cena of hockey.

I have tried Googling how many lobsters were at the birth of Jesus but the results are inconclusive.

I apologize there is not more goofiness and things to make you chuckle today, but perhaps tomorrow? Because “Tomorrow is another day!”

Have a great start to the week and check me out on my many, many forms of social media.

Also for those who understand and acknowledge my Love Actually references, I thank you. As a bonus I found out that they made a little mini-Love Actually sequel here recently called Red Nose Day Actually. The 15 minute or so long piece shows a bit of a snapshot into the present day lives of the characters from that original film. Note: not everyone was included in the sequelette. Obviously Alan Rickman passed away and another main character was doing a show on Broadway at the time of filming but several other characters are back. So as I often tell young Master Ayden, be grateful for what you get even if it isn’t everything you want. A little is still nice to have in lieu of nothing.

Happy Monday Universe!

Peace.