Trevor Cahill’s Seven Strong Innings in a Loss

I graded a lot of exams and homework assignment and nearly completed everything necessary to submit grades.  I waited around for two students but then boarded a bus to get to a Big 5 Sporting Goods store, which I bought two more baseball scorebooks to get me through this season.  I took a bus to downtown Oakland and boarded BART.  Basketball fans were ahead of me, going to the Oracle Arena for the Warriors game with the Rockets.  I went to the deserted Gate B, and I was apparently one of the first fans to go inside the stadium.  I wanted to buy a new Memorial Day cap but didn’t see it in the stores.  I watched the A’s batting practice before buying a cheeseburger with tots.  Perhaps I should have gone to the Treehouse and bought something from El Gran Taco Loco, like a quesadilla.  The performers of the national anthem were the choir from Monte Vista High School.  They were a huge group, mostly girls, and they made up a big part of this sparse crowd for this game between the A’s and the Mariners.  There were more people in the Oracle Arena next door for the Warriors game.  Trevor Cahill took the mound as Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” played.  He pitched a clean first inning and a clean third inning.  He allowed two hits in the second inning but pitched out of that jam.  He allowed one runner in each of the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings with a hit batter, a single, and a walk, respectively.  On offense, only one of the A’s reached base in the first three innings, and that was Mark Canha with a single with two outs in the third.  He was wearing his ski mask on this cool and misty night as he played left field.  Marcus Semien singled to start the fourth inning, and Jed Lowrie hit a ground ball to the pitcher, who showed sticky fingers as he made a bad throw to second base for an error.  Matt Olson singled to load the bases with no outs, but then Matt Chapman hit into a 6-3 double play, although the play did score one run.  In the fifth inning, Canha was hit by a pitch, and he went to third base on Matt Joyce’s single, and then he scored on Marcus Semien’s hit.  They were ahead of the Mariners at 2-0.  Cahill got the first out of the seventh inning with only one pitch, but then he walked the next batter, whose batting average was only .214, and then he gave up a home run to the next batter, who was hitting .208.  I had an inkling that Cahill could have been tiring once he allowed the walk.  He did finish the inning, although the score was 2-2 when he left.  In the bottom of the inning, Canha doubled with two out, but Chad Pinder, pinch-hitting for Matt Joyce, struck out looking.  Lou Trivino came into the game for Cahill in the eighth inning, and he continued to pitch well, getting three strikeouts and allowing just a walk with one out.  We saw the Kiss Cam.  In the bottom of the inning, the A’s again got a two-out double, this time from Olson, but Chapman flied out.  Blake Treinen pitched the top of the ninth inning, and he had nearly an identical inning to Trivino’s, except that there was a passed ball.  With the chance to win the game in the bottom of the inning, Stephen Piscotty, Jonathan Lucroy, and Dustin Fowler did nothing.  None of them, in fact, reached base at all during the game, along with Matt Chapman.  The mist in the air was more like rain, and it became difficult to write in my scorebook.  Warriors fans had the bad news that the team next door had lost to the Rockets.  The A’s failure to score in the last two innings meant that Yusmeiro Petit was coming into the game for the tenth inning.  He struck out the first batter, but then he single and then a fatal double, putting the Mariners ahead, 3-2, before getting two ground balls to end the inning.  In the bottom of the inning, Canha struck out, failing to reach base for the only time all night.  Pinder grounded out, and then Semien struck out to end the game.  Since Semien’s hit to make the score 2-0 five innings earlier, 16 out of 18 of the A’s batters made outs, with only the two doubles giving the team chances to score.  The game had begun at 7:07 with a game time temperature of 57 degrees, and it ended at 9:57.  The attendance was 9,408.  The game marked the first time we had seen Ryon Healy in a Mariners jersey.  The Warriors fans had already left, so the BART station was empty.  I had forgotten about the basketball game and thus forgotten to bring my AM radio to listen to Ken Korach on 1050 AM, so I didn’t hear his comments about this tough loss.  With the Angels losing, a win could have brought the A’s closer to two of the teams ahead of them in the standings.  The Astros continued to win.  I wanted to get quickly out of the wet weather and back home.  It seemed that everyone in the stadium and the BART train was talking about the Warriors game.  Two people were loudly talking about basketball players like Magic Johnson, and they seemed too young to have ever seen them firsthand.  Some of the people who died on May 23 include Henrik Ibsen (1906), Clyde Barrow (1934), Bonnie Parker (1934), Sterling Hayden (1986), Sam Snead (2002), Anne Meara (2015), John Nash (2015), and Roger Moore (2017).  Today is a birthday for Drew Carey (60) and Joan Collins (84).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for May 23, The Who released their rock opera “Tommy” in 1969.  In 1971, Iron Butterfly performed a final show before disbanding.  In 1973, the Sam Peckinpah Western “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” starring James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson, and Bob Dylan, was released.  In 1986, the sequel “Poltergeist II: The Other Side,” starring JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Heather O’Rourke, and Geraldine Fitzgerald, was released.  In 1990, the IRS auctioned off Willie Nelson’s golf course, collecting $230,000 towards his debt.  In 1997, Tim Allen was arrested for drunken driving.  In 1999, wrestler Owen Hart fell to his death in Kemper Arena in Kansas City when his harness line malfunctioned.

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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

I watched a little bit of Match Game, and then went out to the office, where I had get around to grading ten exams.  I was tired when I got back home.  I had chicken and rice and watched “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”  I read that this was originally intended as a movie for Mick Jagger and David Bowie, and that it is a remake of “Bedtime Story” from 1964, with a cast that included David Niven, Marlon Brando, and Shirley Jones.  I saw this movie sometime around 1988 or 1989, and I thought it was very amusing at the time.  Barbara Harris was in the cast, and her presence brought to mind the Alfred Hitchcock film “Family Plot.”  Michael Caine was very funny when he was posing as the doctor.  Steve Martin did have some hilarious moments as he pretended that he wasn’t able to walk, although he lost some of my sympathy in trying for the pity angle to getting to the mark.  I thought that Caine was much more believable as the crooked type than Martin was.  Martin was kind of an absurd and unrealistic presence as a character.  There is no way that a woman with half a brain could have been fooled by him.  He also supposedly fell down a lot of stairs to the beach in a wheelchair, which reminded me of something from “The Notorious Landlady.”  The movie was filmed in France, and I’m not too sure that movie audiences wanted to go out and see wealthy people playing games with each other.  The soundtrack including “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “Pick Yourself Up,” and “We’re in the Money,” which a lot of people might not recognize.  Glenne Headly was Janet Colgate, who was supposed to be the woman that Caine and Martin were trying to bilk $50,000 out of.  It was sad to think about her death just about one year ago.  She was in films like “Doctor Detroit,” “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” and “Making Mr. Right” before this one, and “Dick Tracy,” “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” “2 Days in the Valley,” and “Babe: Pig in the City” after.  The ending of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” wasn’t totally predictable, but it didn’t seem that it would end with two of the characters very angry.  I guess you could say that the ending plays on the audience’s sexism, unless some people are really open-minded.  Frank Oz was the director.  He did work on “Little Shop of Horrors,” “What About Bob?” and “Bowfinger,” which were all funny.  The one thing I thought was a flaw in the script was Caine’s carelessness in dealing with Janet.  He was supposed to choose his victims carefully, and it seemed completely out of character that he didn’t suspect that something was going on.  I thought about “The Sting” and “The Ladykillers” as I watched this movie.  Thinking back on the 1980s is rather sad for me.  I saw this movie thirty years ago, and some of it still made me laugh out loud.  That is an indication of some pretty good quality, at least.  Some of the people who died on May 22 include Victor Hugo (1885), Edward Bellamy (1898), Langston Hughes (1967), Margaret Rutherford (1972), Lefty Grove (1975), John Derek (1988), Whitman Mayo (2001), Thurl Roosevelt (2005), Martin Gardner (2010), and Dina Merrill (2017).  Today is a birthday for Morrissey (59).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for May 22, Ernie K-Doe had the Number One single, “Mother-in-Law,” in 1961.  In 1965, The Beatles were at Number One on the singles chart with “Ticket to Ride.”  In 1971, Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World” was Number One in the singles chart for the sixth week.  In 1976, Paul McCartney reached Number One on the singles chart with “Silly Love Songs.”

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Kingpin

I woke up and got a phone call from my parents.  My mother’s assessment of the royal wedding was that both Harry and Meghan were idiots, and that all of England was going down the toilet.  I paid for a cell phone bill, membership renewals for Barnes and Noble and AMC Stubs, and a ticket for A’s Game Night.  I went grocery shopping and saw “Ready Player One” again before I returned to listen to the Warriors game against the Rockets.  After the Warriors had a big lead, I put a DVD on television and watched it.  The movie was “Kingpin.”  Woody Harrelson was the bowler who leaves his hometown in Iowa to make good and become a champion, but he gets sidetracked and suffers an injury.  There were shades of “The Natural” in this incident.  He meets an Amish man named Ishmael, who is talented but naïve about the ways of the world.  Ishmael’s family is about to lose their farm to the bank, so they had a need for the $1 million in prize money for a tournament in Reno.  The two men go off on a road trip that had some similarities with “The Last Detail.”  A woman named Claudia joins them.  She was something like Barbara Bach, and distracted bowlers so that Ishmael could win games.  There was a very funny moment involving a sheep.  The bowling scenes made me think of “The Big Lebowski,” along with Jim Parsons and Wil Wheaton in “The Big Bang Theory.”  Bill Murray is Ernie McCracken, the rival of Roy and the person responsible for his career-ending injury.  There were real athletes and sports announcers in this film, such as Roger Clemens and Chris Schenkel showing up.  Chris Elliott and Jonathan Richman appeared in this film and would reappear in “There’s Something About Mary.”  The movie was amusing but not wildly hilarious.  There were some interesting songs on the soundtrack, although Cat Stevens’ “Oh Very Young” had not been released in 1969.  A couple of other key songs were The Trammps’ “Disco Inferno,” Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw the Light,” and Electric Light Orchestra’s “Showdown.”  Apparently, Bill Murray was really a pretty good bowler, and the audience was really cheering him at times.  The Farrelly brothers were still putting the final touches on their writing of the screenplay.  I heard that the A’s won their game in Toronto by a 9-2 score.  Some of the people who died on May 21 include John Garfield (1952), Kenneth Clark (1983), Alejandro Rey (1987), and John Gielgud (2000).  Today is a birthday for Mr. T (66), Leo Sayer (70), and Ronald Isley (77).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for May 21, the Orson Welles film “Touch of Evil,” starring Charlton Heston, had its New York premiere in 1958.  In 1966, the Mamas and the Papas’ “Monday Monday” was Number One on the singles chart.  In 1969, The Beatles announced that they fired Allen Klein to straighten out their finances.  In 1971, “Escape from the Planet of the Apes,” the third film in the original series, was released.  In 1979, Elton John became the first Western rock star permitted to perform in the Soviet Union.  In 1980, Joe Strummer of The Clash was arrested in Hamburg, Germany after he smashed his guitar over the head of an audience member.  In 2003, Ruben Studdard was the winner of the second American Idol competition.

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Ruggles of Red Gap

I awoke and turned on the television to watch the royal wedding.  I didn’t see how the comparisons between Meghan Markle and Grace Kelly really fit.  Meghan has been in CSI episode where Grace Kelly won an Oscar and appeared in “Rear Window” and “To Catch a Thief.”  I can’t stand it when a priest makes long and boring comments on the nature of love.  I couldn’t believe that I saw James Corden there.  After the honeymoon, Prince Harry is going to have to go to training camp to try to get the Eagles back to the Super Bowl.  After going off to work, I listened to the end of the A’s game in Toronto.  They came from behind 4-0 with a Chad Pinder grand slam to win 5-4.  I went to see “The Death of Stalin” again.  One woman sitting in the front row laughed too loudly at everything.  The Saturday Night Movie on KQED was “Singin’ in the Rain.”  One thing I noticed was that Debbie Reynolds pulled away the paper streamers in her face while singing and dancing during her first number.  I watched “Ruggles of Red Cap,” a comedy with Charles Laughton.  A loss in a card game leads to Marmaduke Ruggles going over to the American millionaire couple, Egbert and Effie Floud.  Egbert has a wardrobe makeover that was not quite like what Kim Novak went through in “Vertigo.”  Ruggles doesn’t know Idaho from Washington, and he thinks he’s in danger in the Wild West.  It is 1908, so he is not that far off the mark.  There is a mistaken identity in this story, but it is really the townspeople taking Ruggles to be something he isn’t, a distinguished retired British Army officer.  There is a comment on slavery here that Ruggles himself doesn’t indicate that he sees.  The most dramatic scene in the picture is Ruggles recitation of the Gettysburg Address.  I thought that Charles Laughton did a fine job as a comedic actor.  He had a remarkable year in 1935, with this picture and “Les Misérables” and “Mutiny on the Bounty.”  His aim was to make something more of himself as a servant and open a restaurant, although I don’t know that these rough Western characters would want to eat English food regularly.  This movie reminded me of The Beverly Hillbillies, although it was like a reversal of that situation.  The director, Leo McCarey, also worked on such movies as “Duck Soup,” “The Awful Truth,” “Going My Way,” and “The Bells of St. Mary’s.”  The one thing about the story of “Ruggles of Red Gap” that I found hard to believe was that no one in this town noticed what Ruggles really was.  There had to be at least one in this group of loud and crass Americans who would notice.  I don’t know how much left Laughton had to offer after his big year of 1935.  I think that “Ruggles of Red Gap” is still worth seeing today.  Some of the people who died on May 20 include Christopher Columbus (1506), Clara Schumann (1896), Gilda Radner (1989), Stephen Jay Gould (2002), and Robin Gibb (2012).  Today is a birthday for Mary Pope Osborne (69) and Cher (72).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for May 20, Paul McCartney’s “With a Little Luck” reached Number One on the singles chart in 1978.  In 1987, “Beverly Hills Cop II,” starring Eddie Murphy, was released.  In 2015, David Letterman appeared in his final Late Show.

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Deadpool 2

I headed over to Emeryville to see the new Deadpool movie.  I browsed through UNIQLO and bought a black shirt.  I waited for the box office to open.  Quite a few people were out to see this movie just before noon.  I think that a lot of people saw Deadpool once and don’t really remember it.  I am one of those people.  From the audience reaction, it seems that Ryan Reynolds is possibly the Robin Williams of our times.  Perhaps he is the Jim Carrey of our times.  I can’t remember the last time I heard so many people respond with laughter that was too loud and forced to anyone in the movies over the last twenty years.  He’s had relationships with Alanis Morissette, Scarlett Johansson, and Blake Lively.  I’m not sure how any of them could have tolerated him for very long.  When Deadpool attempted suicide by fire, I had to think back to what Harold in “Harold and Maude” did.  We just saw Josh Brolin as Thanos in the Infinity War, so Deadpool had to make a reference to that, as he does with a lot of pop culture and Marvel movies.  I took note that “Take on Me” was used in this movie, as it was in “La La Land.”  There is really no escape from it, ever.  I like seeing Leslie Uggams again, although my memory of her involves singing and appearing in “Roots.”  I didn’t like the idea of Deadpool teaming up with mutants.  One guy sitting behind really thought the parachuting sequence was hilarious.  After a while, I didn’t want to see people getting their limbs sliced off.  One of the good characters was Domino, although I can’t view her luck as being a super power, either.  There was another action sequence that made me think back on “The Road Warrior.”  The Deadpool movies are too violent for me to really like them very much.  I don’t want to see so much death and violence and pain, even though this weekend’s audiences seem like the evidence that times have changed so much.  For those people who like the first Deadpool movie, they should also like this one.  If you haven’t seen the first movie, it’s hard to just jump right into this series.  I did not see a Stan Lee cameo appearance in this film.  I wasn’t ready for the X-Force.  I didn’t care about Peter.  This movie didn’t really excite me.  Some of the people at work like to talk about these superhero movies.  I don’t feel that I have to see every single one of them.  Some of the people who died on May 19 include T.E. Lawrence (1935), Booth Tarkington (1946), Charles Ives (1954), Coleman Hawkins (1969), Ogden Nash (1971), and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1994).  Today is a birthday for Grace Jones (70) and Pete Townshend (73).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for May 19, “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” was released in 1958.  In 1977, “Smokey and the Bandit” premiered in New York.  In 1995, “Die Hard with a Vengeance” was released.  In 2006, the movie version of “The Da Vinci Code,” starring Tom Hanks, opened.

 

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Alexander’s Ragtime Band

I spent the whole morning proofreading an exam.  I had a turkey burger for lunch and went to the classroom early and gave the exam to the class.  I was late getting back home.  I had a slice of pizza, got to my television, and watched the DVD of “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”  It had stars like Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, Don Ameche, and Ethel Merman in it.  I also noticed Jack Haley, who was the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz.”  The cast was not an example of racial diversity, but Alice Faye certainly showed her great singing talent.  Power was supposed to be a conductor, but the way he waved around his baton, I thought he was using it as a weapon to beat someone to death.  One of the big attractions of this movie is the use of Irvin Berlin songs, such as “Blue Skies,” “Easter Parade,” and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”  Power’s character, Alexander, isn’t written or acted with subtlety.  There is a triangle between Alexander, Stella, and Charlie that made me think that a real happy ending would be impossible.  I was very surprised at how young Ethel Merman looked.  I remembered how she looked in Match Game 78, and it sure seemed that she had aged more than forty years.  I didn’t believe that there was very much emotion brewing between Alexander and Merman’s character Jerry.  Ethel is in this movie to sing, to let it all out with the strong voice of hers.  John Carradine shows up as a taxi driver who likes to listen to music on the radio.  The movie takes its time coming to its conclusion, and one reason it feels too long is that the ending is predictable.  Although this isn’t one of my favorite musicals, I did enjoy watching Alice Faye again.  Henry King was the director.  I do know him for his films like “Twelve O’Clock High” and “Carousel.”  Some of the people who died on May 18 include Gustav Mahler (1911), Arthur O’Connell (1981), William Saroyan (1981), Jill Ireland (1990), Skip Stephenson (1992), Elizabeth Montgomery (1995), Tony Randall (2004), and Steve Forrest (2013).  Today is a birthday for Tina Fey (48) and Reggie Jackson (72).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for May 18, The Beatles began their first tour of the UK as headliners at the Adelphi Cinema in Slough in 1963.  In 1990, Judy Carne was arrested at JFK Airport on an 11-year-old drug warrant.  In 1995, Elizabeth Montgomery died of cancer at age 62.  In 2003, “Les Miserables” ended its 16-year run on Broadway after 6,680 performances. 

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Romeo and Juliet

I watched “Romeo and Juliet” before I went to sleep.  It wasn’t the film of my youth, with Olivia Hussey as Juliet, but the film from 1936 starring Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer, directed by George Cukor.  The complaint about this film over the years has been that the stars were too old for their parts.  Howard was 43 and Shearer was 34.  I couldn’t get over it, either.  This tale was just unconvincing with older adults as the principals.  How could two people like this be driven to their actions at the end?  Actors such as Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Fredric March, Robert Donat, and Robert Montgomery all turned down the role of Romeo.  They all did well to stay away.  It seemed that the intention of centering the picture around Norma Shearer was a big mistake.  When the producer wants to feature his wife prominently, you have to suspect what the result will be.  I liked the look of the film, especially during Juliet’s funeral, but thought it went on and on for too long.  The casting was fatal.  The critics who liked the movie had to be lacking judgment, or else they were too afraid to criticize the film after the death of Thalberg.  In 1970, Cukor said, “It’s one picture that if I had to do over again, I’d know how.”  I’d get the garlic and the Mediterranean into it.”  People avoided the movie, as they thought it was too arty and long and boring.  I’d like to know who thought that this was one of the classic MGM films.  John Gielgud reportedly walked out on it.  It got four Oscar nominations.  Seeing it made me think back on the strong memories I had of the Franco Zeffirelli film from 1968, which was mentioned in one of the episodes of The Wonder Years.  Cukor was a superior director, but Zeffirelli did capture some more emotion from the play.  Zeffirelli apparently wanted to cast Paul McCartney in his picture.  I am very glad that that did not happen.  I have seen only one of Zeffirelli’s films after “Romeo and Juliet,” and that was the forgettable “Brother Sun, Sister Moon.”  I missed the remake of “The Champ” and “Endless Love.”  The 1996 film featured Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. The 2013 film had Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld.  I haven’t seen either of them.  Of course, I have seen “West Side Story” several times over the years.  I don’t feel motivated to seek out any more versions of this story.  I’ve had enough.  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for May 17, the science fiction disaster movie “Crack in the World,” starring Dana Andrews, was Number One at the box office in 1965.  In 1969, the Fifth Dimension’s “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)” was the Number One single.  In 1971, “Godspell” opened off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theater.  In 1975, Mick Jagger smashed his hand through a window in Gorman’s restaurant in Long Island, and he required twenty stitches.  In 1992, Lawrence Welk died at age 89 in his apartment in Santa Monica.  In 2004, Tony Randall died at age 84 in his sleep in New York.  In 2013, Alan O’Day, who wrote the hit songs “Angie Baby” and “Undercover Angel,” died of cancer at age 72.

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