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Happy Birthday–November 2

Dutch Zwilling (1888)
Chief Hogsett (1903)
Travis Jackson (1903)
Johnny Vander Meer (1914)
Al Campanis (1916)
Ron Reed (1942)
Tom Paciorek (1946)
Scott Boras (1952)
Paul Hartzell (1953)
Greg Harris (1955)
Willie McGee (1958)
Sam Horn (1963)
Orlando Merced (1966)
Travis Miller (1972)
Orlando Cabrera (1974)
Sidney Ponson (1976)
Wilson Betamit (1981)
Yunel Escobar (1982)
Daryl Thompsn (1985)

Dutch Zwilling holds the record for last major leaguer in alphabetical order.

Al Campanis was the general manager of the Dodgers from 1969-1987.

Scott Boras has been a player agent for many years.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–November 2

Philando

A week and a half ago, I attended a breakfast held in honor of this year’s winners of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. The honorees all spoke—about books, about art, about children, about being black in America. Author Jason Reynolds gave a spoken word performance that brought the audience to its feet. Here is an excerpt:

if you listen closely
you can hear the machetes
cutting the air
in half
connecting for half a second with something
breathing and growing
breathing and growing
before being chopped
down like sugar cane in a Louisiana field
yes there are machetes everywhere
the sound of them cutting the air

chop CHOP
chop CHOP

we try not
to bend in the wind
try not to bow or bow
try to wrap fingers around our own
saccharine souls
and brace ourselves
for the

chop CHOP
chop CHOP

the machetes
cutting the air in half
coming for us

You can read the full poem here, and you can see it performed in this video, recorded by a person in the audience.

Last night police officers shot and killed a black man. This is nothing new. But these were the police officers from the place I call home. The police officers whose station is an easy walk from my house. Whose station is in the same building where the jalapeno started going to daycare last month. The police officers who wave to my boys when we’re walking home from the park.

While eating breakfast this morning, I told my boys that too many black men are being killed by the police. I told them that last night our police officers shot and killed a black man. The peperoncino, who just turned three, got it. He said, “That’s not okay. The police need to say sorry for killing.”

It’s hard to know how much to say to young kids. It’s hard to talk about racism. But I didn’t have a choice this morning because I needed the jalapeno to know in case things were different today in the building where his daycare is and where the police station is. I wanted him to hear it from me--not from an older kid or a teacher.

Things were pretty quiet this morning, but when I was leaving from dropping off the jalapeno, a protester had arrived. He was a skinny, young white guy holding a large cardboard sign. Handwritten in black marker was FUCK YOUR BADGES. I wasn’t sure what to do, but with the peperoncino in the back seat, I rolled down my window and waved. I said, “Good luck today.” He nodded and said, “Thanks.” While I probably wouldn’t phrase my own sentiments the same way he phrased his, I wanted to say a kind word to him, to let him know that I support him in believing that the killing has got to stop.

I didn’t know Philando Castile, but this morning my heart hurts for him and for all those who loved him.

The Night I Opened For Fancy Ray McCloney

As you all know, for our second anniversary (after the cruise) I decided to do five minutes of stand-up at Rick Bronson's House of Comedy. I don't think I would have had the courage to do this without my wife. My entire family  (including my parents) also came to watch. I'm blessed that they gave me my adult sense of humor and appreciate it.

The video is below, but first, a few highlights:

1. There were 13 guest comedians for open  mic. The closer (Chris Knutson, who was pretty good) was actually the headliner the entire week. I was supposed to go second, which was great. Have someone open, then get up and off the stage before I get too nervous. Well, the first person didn't show. So I was surprisingly called right away. Yikes.

2. The first few guys who followed me were horrendous. One guy was about 70 and just told dirty internet jokes (and he had a lisp). One guy just sadly talked about how awful he was sexually. No jokes, just him berating himself. One guy I'm sure was higher than a kite and kept having to read his cheat sheet to remember his jokes.

3. As mentioned, Fancy Ray was there. For those who don't know who he is, he's a sort-of local celebrity who used to do late night commercials for local sex shops. He also had his own cable show where he interviewed people like Oprah (!). His entire act is him being famous for being famous. He was pretty obnoxious, but then he spent two minutes picking on my dad in the front row. He asked my dad if he had seen him on TV. My dad shook his head, and Fancy said it's probably because he watches too much internet porn. He then said my Dad looked like a 70's swinger who never got laid. Lots of laughs at our table for that.

4. Funniest guy of the night was Brandon Riddley. He had a five-minute bit on how awful his aunt's peanut butter was when he was a kid, and how it almost ruined his life.

5. Favorite one-liner of the night. "So last weekend I hosted a party. The theme was Alien vs. Predator. Only it had a twist. It was Illegal Aliens and Sexual Predators. Wound up just being a mustache party."

6. There was one obnoxious drunk kid in the crowd. He volunteered that he had just had a DWI and his ex-girlfriend's mother was there driving him around. Unfortunately, comedians kept egging him on and this weird relationship and the kid wound up heckling later comedians.

6. The emcee, Greg Coleman, was fantastic. He's in the picture above. He made everyone feel welcome and was pretty funny. He opened the evening with a few jokes, including one where he was convinced he had HIV as a kid, because he misinterpreted some lyrics from an Ice Cube song. I tell you this because it explain my opening joke. Enjoy. (Slightly NSFW due to adult humor and one four letter word)

httpv://youtu.be/8GiRMiKWAZE

Confessions of a 50 Year Old Widower

It’s been over two weeks and the flowers are wilted and going into composting, the extra food has either been eaten or been given away, and the sympathy cards have slowed to a trickle.  It’s starting to feel that a new normal is settling in.  After nearly 24 years of marriage and 26 years of being in one relationship I have found myself widowed and entirely in a new life situation.  I thought it might be interesting to share my experiences with this group – as it might be therapeutic for me but also to spark up some interesting dialogue and perhaps cause some internal thinking on your part.  I hope you indulge me and I promise this will be the occasional posting and not a vehicle to go all “woe is me” on everyone.  So with that preamble… Continue reading Confessions of a 50 Year Old Widower

Philosofickle Thoughts

I think we've likely discussed this before, but, if you'll indulge me, I've had some thoughts lately:

I have two siblings with Cystic Fibrosis.  My sister is 23, and my brother will be turning 16 this week.  For my brother's birthday he will be attending a luau.  In Hawaii.  See... about a year ago he applied to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  His wish was to go to Hawaii.  His wish was granted.

In addition to my brother, my parents and all of my siblings who still lived at home when the application was made (4, excluding by brother) were flown to Hawaii over the weekend.  So... 7 people.  They'll be getting a full week, all expenses paid.  They appear from the pictures to be staying in a penthouse suite of the Sheraton Waikiki.  They will have snorkeling and surfing excursions, and tours of all sorts of cool cultural stuff (Pearl Harbor is closed because of the shutdown, of course...).  All their meals are paid for.  They even got spending cash.

It's a funny thing, seeing such generosity (indeed, I'd consider myself an indirect recipient).  Truly humbling.  I am a blessed person.  We are all blessed people.  Even my siblings with CF.  It's easy, of course, for me to talk on their behalf.  I'm not the one who has to deal with disease every day.  But it reminds me of a speech my sister (a different one) gave:

I also have a nephew who was born with hypoplastic-left heart syndrome.  In short, he only has half a heart.  As you'd imagine, this causes all sorts of problems, and he has many, many other complications.  When he was born, there was a large community fundraiser to help cover all the medical bills.  At that event, my sister got up to thank everyone for their generosity.  She said something to the effect of "I want to thank everyone for all their support.  We are truly blessed.  And I mean that.  When people find out about our son's condition, they tells us all the time 'I'm so sorry.'  Well, I'm not.  Because my son is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me."

I can still hear her saying it.  I've got tears in my eyes as I type this.  I'm not entirely sure why I'm putting this post up.  Maybe if the priest hadn't touched on our need to be humble in yesterday's homily, none of this would have struck me.  But I forget, far too often, that nothing I have is my own.  I have been given health, and family, and friends, and intellect, and humor, and a sister (another one) who's a dentist to fix my teeth, and everything else.  I am blessed.

Seeing pictures of my family's trip to Hawaii, my heart is filled.  Being the recipient of generosity is humbling, and it makes me want to be a better person.  I want to be more generous.  I am blessed.