Transformers: The Last Knight

The first Sunday of the summer had me feeling tired.  I woke up and watched CBS Sunday Morning, which had segments on the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Dick Gregory, John McEnroe, and Cyndi Lauper.  After I went grocery shopping, I took the buses out to Jack London Square to go to the theatre where “Transformers: The Last Knight.”  I thought the story started off on the wrong foot with the whole Middle Ages introduction with Merlin.  After that strangeness, we see Marlky Mark and a spunky little girl, who also had to be a most foolish little girl for being in such dangerous situations.  She had more technical knowledge than anyone in the world.  What, was she self-taught?  We get Anthony Hopkins and three people from “The Big Lebowski.”  Not only is Merlin thrown into the plot, but there are things that we didn’t know about World War II and the death of Hitler tossed in there.  I didn’t know what was going on, but throughout all of this, I knew that Merlin’s staff was important.  The attempts at humor generally weren’t funny, but the woman behind me laughed loudly at everything.  I’ve seen a lot of these loud movies this summer already.  It’s discouraging to see the audiences going along with all this nonsense.  The action scenes lacked excitement, but one thing that was a little surprising was how the ending dragged on and on.  Hardly any movies that are two and a half hours long merit that kind of length, and this one isn’t an exception.  This movie was empty, had no emotion, and wasn’t put together thoughtfully.  The reviewer for RogerEbert.com gave it one star.  I wouldn’t rate it that low.  That is the territory of the Hot Tub Time Machine and Zoolander sequels.  I’m amazed that so much money could be spent to get much modest results.  Everything seems to happen so quickly that there is no sense of wonder what what’s happening.  You’d think that the end of the world is happening every day, or at least every day of the summer.  This movie was a step down from the last Transformers movie, certainly, and the future of the series doesn’t look promising if the stars don’t return.  I thought this was something like the Fast and Furious series, except for robots and science fiction elements.  When I checked the rating of this movie, it was PG-13.  It seemed rather foul-mouthed for the little kids to watch, but then I have no idea what little kids these days are like.  149 minutes was a long time to spend watching this movie, and it made me feel exhausted.  After it ended, I heard one fan talking about what he saw on YouTube about the Transformers.  I did not find it inspiring.  Summer movies sure have changed since the days of Jaws, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones.  I thought the movies were more fun back then, along with a lot of other things.  I would have thought that we would like to go to the movies to escape the depressing news about terrorism and shootings, but then this type of entertainment continues with the violence.  The trailer for the Planet of the Apes movie did not make me want to rush out and see it, with its suggestions of a race and class war.  I want a break from these statements.  I listened to the end of the A’s game in Chicago on the radio on my way home.  Santiago Casilla seemed intent on blowing it in the ninth inning by giving up a home run, but it turned out to be a 5-3 win, although the team is now headed for Houston.  Other news was that Stephen Vogt is now with the Milwaukee Brewers, joining Eric Sogard, who has been doing well this season so far with the Brewers.  I went over to the record store and bought used vinyl copies of albums by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.  The cashier told me that it was good to see me in the store.  I listened to Robert Hilburn’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Times program on KCSN.  He played songs by Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, The Slickers, and Bob Marley and the Wailers.  It’s already been 36 years since the death of Bob Marley.  It was good to hear “Redemption Song,” “No Woman, No Cry,” and “One Love” on the radio again.  I watched part of a Columbo episode with Jackie Cooper, but I fell sleep before the ending.  I was too sleepy to watch Kolchak: The Night Stalker.  I saw a commercial for one of those 1970s rock and roll cruises.  I might be interested into going on one of those cruises, although I’m not sure that I would want to go to Jamaica.  I’m still not a fan of Styx.  I don’t think I liked anything that came after “Lady,” which is a lot.  I’m not sure that I can even name one member of Styx after all these years.  I had the feeling that this would be a tough week of work, and so I wasn’t eager to get out of bed and face it all.  Some of the people who died on June 26 include James Weldon Johnson (1938), Roy Campanella (1993), and Nora Ephron (2012).  Today is a birthday for Ariana Grande (24), Nicole Arbour (32), Gretchen Wilson (44), Chris Isaak (61), and Mick Jones (62).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for June 26, “Darby O’ Gill and the Little People,” starring Sean Connery, was released in 1959.  In 1964, the Beatles’ album “A Hard Day’s Night” was released in the United States.  In 1987, “Dragnet,” with Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks, was released.

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Manifesto

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I awoke and watched CBS This Morning, with its chef segment.  Some of John Tesar’s signature recipes include Ribeye – back to the pan, Avocado fries, Heirloom tomato salad, Johnny mac and cheese, and Sriracha pork belly in the style of Peking duck.  Jason Isbell was the musical guest.  I looked up the American Top 40 playlist for the weekend.  The Top 10 songs on June 29, 1974 were “Annie’s Song,” “Rock Your Baby,” “Band on the Run,” “Hollywood Swinging,” “Rock the Boat,” “If You Love Me (Let Me Know),” “Be Thankful for What You Got,” “Your Make Me Feel Brand New,” “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero,” and “Sundown.”  I had to go to work for five hours, and with one person calling in sick, the shift was a bit difficult.  I stopped for a burger on the way home, and I walked over to the theatre to see “Manifesto.”  It was Cate Blanchett playing 13 different characters delivered various manifestos by people such as Karl Marx, Claes Oldenburg, Jim Jarmusch, Werner Herzog, and Lars von Trier.  When Blanchett appears as a homeless man, it reminded me of Monty Python.  The movie had some humor in it, as the choreographer, news anchor and reporter, and teacher segments made some of us in the audience laugh a little bit.  It was too much talking, however, as we didn’t want to hear an endless discussion about art.  How can you convince anyone when you’re causing your listeners to tune out?  Some of these ideas are questionable, like the statement that nothing is original.  Some parts made me squirm restlessly in my seat.  I think that any film that quotes from Jean-Luc Godard is going to be in trouble.  This movie made me think back to a film of John Gielgud reading from Shakespeare.  “Manifesto” is not for most people.  I overheard people afterwards joking that it was weird and that they thought beforehand that since Cate Blanchett was in it, it was going to be good.  If you don’t mind sitting through boring stretches to get to some scattered jewels, there is something in this film for you.  I’ll give credit to Blanchett for attempting something different and meaningful, for taking a chance on something new.  I think the filmmakers have to consider the audience.  I don’t know how you can expect people to pay $8.50 or more for a ticket if you don’t try to be more engaging.  Watching this movie is like listening to someone, or maybe I should say 13 people, who don’t know when to stop talking.  I looked at the review on RogerEbert.com and was a bit surprised that it was so positive.  I thought about all the strange experiences I’ve had at the movies.  “Manifesto” was not one of the top ten, but it was certainly out of the ordinary.  It wasn’t Pirates of the Caribbean, Wonder Woman, Captain Underpants, or Transformers.  I went home and watched the end of a Giants game with the Mets.  The Giants lost their 50th game of the season.  A front page story in the San Francisco Chronicle was about the declining prices of Giants tickets.  I thought the article was a warning to the A’s and their fans that the team has to win once they have a new stadium.  I saw on the news that Matt Olson, Jaycob Brugman, and Franklin Barreto all their first major league home run in the same game in Chicago.  I watched the Star Trek episode on Me TV and then the news.  It has been fifty years since The Beatles performed “All You Need is Love” via satellite to the world.  Some of the people who died on June 25 include Johnny Mercer (1976), Boudleaux Bryant (1987), Jacques Cousteau (1997), John Fiedler (2005), Farrah Fawcett (2009), Michael Jackson (2009), and Patrick Macnee (2015).  Today is a birthday for Ricky Gervais (56), Sonia Sotomayor (63), Jimmie Walker (70), Carly Simon (72), and June Lockhart (92).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for June 25, The Beatles reached Number One on the singles chart in 1966 with “Paperback Writer.”  In 1976, “The Omen” was released in the United States.  In 1983, the “Flashdance” soundtrack album replaced Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at the Number One position on the Billboard album chart.  In 2009, Farrah Fawcett died of cancer at age 62.

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Monterey Pop

I spent a couple hours at the laundromat, and then I went to the library.  After I had lunch, I went out to the theatre to see “Monterey Pop.”  They opened the theatre late, and I was the only one there to see the movie.  I had seen it before, in the early 1980s, and it was pretty much the same movie that I remember from all those years ago, except that it wasn’t a scratchy print with muddled sound.  The good thing about digital projection is that it doesn’t degrade the picture after many showings.  I found it interesting to see someone eating an orange or sleeping on the ground.  The first song is Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco,” which is not a live performance, but it is fitting in setting the mood.  I was a bit surprised at how bright and lively the Mamas and the Papas sounded on “California Dreamin’.”  Canned Heat is not a band that I will remember for anything at all.  Simon and Garfunkel’s brief number is “The 59th Street Bridge Song” instead of “The Sound of Silence.”  Jefferson Airplane does two songs, and I still didn’t recognize either one.  Grace Slick sure had a powerful voice years ago.  Janis Joplin gave one of the best performances in the film with “Ball and Chain.”  Mama Cass is in the audience and is impressed, saying “Wow!”  Eric Burdon and the Animals perform “Paint It, Black,” which really reminds us that the Rolling Stones should have been there but weren’t, along with The Beach Boys, The Kinks, and The Doors.  One person who was part of the festival but not the movie was Laura Nyro.  The Who went into “My Generation” and ended with a lot of destruction, with Keith Moon apparently getting injured.  One thing that is a contrast with Woodstock is that people are sitting in chairs, and they probably all had a good view of the bands.  Something else that was interesting was the almost nobody waves at the camera, giving a feeling of a Fellini film.  Otis Redding sang “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.”  I wish I could get the image of Jon Cryer in “Pretty in Pink” erased from my memory permanently.  Jimi Hendrix gave perhaps the most memorable performance.  There was quite a bit of sex in his song, “Wild Thing,” so it wasn’t shown on network television.  The setting of his guitar on fire was outrageous.  I kept wondering why he should want to destroy his guitar in the first place.  Some of the audience members aren’t hip, as they seemed confused as to how to react.  They’re still accustomed to conventions and politeness.  I don’t know if they would have been ready for Iggy Pop or The Sex Pistols.  I didn’t understand why Hendrix played the guitar behind his back.  It didn’t add anything to the moment, except to show that he could do it.  It made me think of Tom Hulce demonstrating Mozart’s skills in “Amadeus.”  The last number is Ravi Shankar’s “Dhun,” which I didn’t think was the greatest for the cameras, as it showed long shots of Shankar’s fingers.  He was certainly skilled.  One woman was sleeping.  I thought this was serious music, but some people are dancing around like jackasses.  The music does build to an ending that excites the audience, and you can briefly see Micky Dolenz of the Monkees.  I thought this was a good concert film, although it isn’t as impressive as “Woodstock.”  I thought the one annoying shot of the film was Michelle Phillips upside down.  I was glad to be reminded of what happened fifty years ago.  They sold fresh roasted peanuts at the concert site, and no one carried cell phones.  They weren’t able to hold another festival the following year, which I guess is just as well.  It would have been hard to recreate the magic.  It was fun being the only one in the theatre to see this movie.  It was almost like being at home with a huge screen in front of me.  I went over to a Prince Purple Rain Listening Party.  The bonus tracks that I heard did not excite me very much.  After I returned home, I watched the Partridge Family episode “Danny Converts,” which felt like a Bridget Loves Bernie preview.  Laurie was supposed to have been eating ice cream in one scene.  My copy of The Partridge Family Cookbook arrived in the mail.  It was in pretty good condition for a 45-year-old paperback book.  I saw on the news that the A’s won their game with the Chicago White Sox.  Khris Davis hit a home run.  Some of the people who died on June 14 include Grover Cleveland (1908), Jackie Gleason (1987), Brian Keith (1997), David Tomlinson (2000), Paul Winchell (2005), and Eli Wallach (2014).  Today is a birthday for Mindy Kaling (38), Mick Fleetwood (70), Peter Weller (70), and Jeff Beck (73).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for June 24, “Cat Ballou,” starring Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin, Dwayne Hickman, and Nat King Cole, was released in 1965.  In 1971, “McCabe and Mrs. Miller,” starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie, was released.  In 2014, Eli Wallach died at age 98.

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Jesse Hahn’s Horrendous Two Innings

I went over to the bookstore to submit a textbook order, and to the Office of Instruction to give them some paperwork, and then I headed to the BART station to go to the Coliseum.  After the gates opened, I headed to the team store, where I bought an Eckersley jersey.  I decided that I would feel better if I ate before taking my seat, so I went to the food trucks and bought a Banana-Fana with a bottle of drinking water.  I saw Roberta Gonzales of KPIX warming up to throw out the first pitch.  She was wearing black on a hot afternoon.  Jalen Richard threw the second first pitch, which I think is just the second pitch.  I heard the news that Stephen Vogt was gone from the team.  I couldn’t help wondering what was going to happen to Faith and Family Day.  Jesse Hahn was the starting pitcher against the Houston Astros.  He got off to a horrible start, hitting the first batter with his fifth pitch of the game.  A pinch-runner had to come into the game.  Hahn walked the next two batters, as he threw only two strikes to the first three batters of the game.  Two sacrifice flies produced two runs without a hit for the Astros.  A fly ball to right field was the third out.  Hahn had gone to three-ball counts to five of six hitters in the inning.  The only thing that happened in the bottom of the inning was Matt Olson getting his first hit, as Matt Joyce, Ryon Healy, and Khris Davis all struck out.  Hahn was unable to do better in the second inning.  He allowed a single to the first hitter, but then got an out on a fly ball to centerfield.  He then gave up a double and a home run to make the score 5-0, and then another double and a walk.  A ground ball looked as though it could turn into an inning-ending double play, but Yonder Alonso committed an error on the play to load the bases with still one out.  Hahn proceeded to give up a single for two runs, followed by a home run for three more runs and a 10-0 score.  Bruce Maxwell caught a foul ball for the second out, and the third out finally came on a ground ball.  I heard a lot of groaning from the fan a few seats to my right throughout the inning.  Hahn’s ERA had gone from 3.56 to 4.66.  The fans certainly weren’t expecting the A’s to come from ten runs behind to win, although they had done it once before in their history.  Josh Smith took over for Hahn in the third inning.  He went three innings and gave up no runs.  The first batter got a single off him, but then Smith got eight consecutive outs before he gave up a double.  He then struck out the last batter he faced in the fifth inning.  The A’s had men on base in each of the first four innings without producing a run, but they finally did something in the fifth.  Maxwell singled, and after Rosales made an out, Joyce doubled.  Maxwell scored on Olson’s ground ball.  Michael Brady came into the game in the sixth inning with an ERA of 9.00 because he allowed one run in one inning.  He gave up a home run to Josh Reddick with his first pitch, doubling his ERA to 18.00.  After allowing a double, though, he got seven consecutive outs to reduce his ERA to 5.40.  After hearing relationship advice from the A’s via the scoreboard, we saw them score more runs in the sixth inning.  Khris Davis doubled.  Yonder Alonso fouled out on a 3-1 pitch, but then Chad Pinder doubled to make the score 11-2, and then Jaycob Brugman singled to make the score 11-3.  Maxwell and Rosales made outs.  During the seventh inning stretch, we heard “Right Back Where We Started From,” and I could see one of the ushers singing along.  The A’s got only a walk with one out from Olson in the inning.  In the top of the eighth inning with one out, Brady gave up a triple and a sacrifice fly, which made the score 12-3.  He finished the inning with a strikeout and a 6.75 ERA.  In the bottom of the inning, the A’s did something.  Rajai Davis doubled on the first pitch.  Pinder struck out on a 3-2 pitch.  Brugman walked on a 3-2 pitch, and then Maxwell doubled for one run.  Rosales went to a 3-2 count and doubled for two more runs.  On a 3-2 wild pitch, Joyce walked and Rosales went to third base.  After a pitching change, Olson doubled, with Rosales scoring and Joyce going to third base.  Joyce scored the fifth run of the inning on a wild pitch, with Olson going to third base.  Healy grounded out but Olson scored, bringing the A’s to within 12-9.  Khris Davis struck out to end the inning.  It was his third strikeout of the game.  John Axford pitched the top of the ninth inning.  He allowed two singles with one out, but kept the score at 12-9.  The A’s appeared used up their magic in the eighth inning.  The game ended with Rajai Davis, Chad Pinder, and Jaycob Brugman all striking out.  After winning four straight against the Yankees, the A’s lost four straight to the Astros.  The Astros certainly looked like the best team in the American League.  This game started at 12:37 with a game time temperature of 88 degrees, and it ended at 4:01.  The attendance was 18,747.  Instead of going straight home, I stopped by Best Buy and bought Blu-ray discs of “For Your Eyes Only” and “The Great Escape.”  I went home for something to eat.  I browsed through the record store and bought a Blu-ray of “Wings” and a Midnight Special DVD.  I took a shower and fell asleep while watching some Portlandia.  Some of the people who died on June 23 include Jonas Salk (1995), Shana Alexander (2005), Aaron Spelling (2006), Ed McMahon (2009), Peter Falk (2011), Richard Matheson (2013), and Dick van Patten (2015).  Today is a birthday for Melissa Rauch (37), Joss Whedon (53), and Randy Jackson (61).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for June 23, the mono issue of Ray Charles’ “Modern Sounds of Country and Western Music” reached Number One on the Billboard albums chart in 1962.  In 1984, the Number One single was Duran Duran’s “The Reflex.”  In 1989, “Batman,” directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton, Kim Basinger, and Jack Nicholson, was released.

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Sean Manaea’s Three 0-2 Pitches

I didn’t get the chance to go to Peet’s Coffee on Broadway to see Yonder Alonso, Stephen Vogt, Ryon Healy, and Liam Hendriks wearing aprons.  I got to stadium by taking the buses out there, and I sat on a bench as I waited for the gates to open.  I decided to browse through the team store.  I saw jerseys that I would like to buy.  The Hunter, Jackson, and Eckersley jerseys looked like the best ones to me.  I strolled through the Catfish Hunter gate and took a photo.  I got some loaded tots and headed for the plaza where the food trucks were parked.  I bought chicken tacos and a chocolate malt.  I took my seat after 6:30. Sean Manaea, the starting pitcher for the A’s against the Astros, started off with two perfect innings.  He allowed a walk and a single in the third inning but didn’t give up a run.  He got through the fourth, allowing just a single with two outs.  In the fifth inning, Manaea walked the first batter, then got the next three batters out.  Through the first five innings, the A’s through the first five innings got a runner as far as second base only twice, in the first inning and in the fifth inning.  Entering the sixth inning, the score was still at 0-0, but something was about to happen.  Manaea went to a 3-2 on the first hitter before giving up a single.  He went to a 2-0 count on the second batter before giving up another single.  Jaycob Brugman made the mistake of throwing to third base when the runner was the speedy Jose Altuve, allowing the trailing runner to take second base.  Manaea went ahead in the count, 0-2, but gave up a single for two runs.  After a strikeout, he again went ahead, 0-2, to the next batter and allowed a single.  After another strikeout, Manaea got to a third 0-2 count in the inning and allowed the fifth single of the inning, this one making the score 3-0.  He struck out the next batter to finally end the inning.  Manaea began the night with a 4.01 ERA. At the end of the fifth ending, he had reduced it to 3.73, but at the end of the sixth inning, it had gone up to 4.05.  The A’s were quiet in the bottom of the sixth inning, with nobody reaching base for the first time in the game, although the only runner they had in the fourth inning was Khris Davis via an error by the third baseman.  The Big Head race had no grabbing or pushing or bumping, but Rollie Fingers continued a lackluster stretch as it was a close finish between Rickey Henderson and Dennis Eckersley, with Eckersley winning it.  Ryan Madson took over for Manaea in the top of the seventh inning, and Madson should have had a clean inning but for Healy’s error with two outs.  The bottom of the inning had a promising start for the A’s, as Yonder Alonso doubled and Ryon Healy walked.  After a pitching change, Brugman hit into a force play, with Healy out at second base as Alonso went to third base.  After another pitching change, Stephen Vogt pinch-hit for Rajai Davis and grounded out, as Brugman went to second base, and Alonso scored a run. Josh Phegley was unable to bring in Brugman, as he grounded out to the pitcher.  The unusual thing that the fans saw in the eighth inning was Stephen Vogt playing left field.  Santiago Casilla was pitching the inning.  Vogt caught a fly ball for the first out.  The next ball hit to him was a sinking line drive that he was unable to catch, although he stopped it from getting past him.  The next ball was also hit his way but to his right, as it went for a double.  A fourth ball was hit to him, and it was another fly ball that he caught, with the Astros scoring on the play.  The score was now 4-1.  Casilla got the third out on a ground ball.  I saw that his ERA went from 4.07 to 4.26 after the inning.  The A’s had no reply in the bottom of the eighth inning, as they made three quiet outs.  Jed Lowrie looked discouraged as he took a called third strike for the last out.  Josh Smith pitched the top of the ninth inning.  He got the first two batters out, but then gave up a home run on a 2-0 pitch, making the score 5-1.  He got a strikeout to end the inning.  His ERA started at 6.63 and went up to 6.75.  Many of the fans had left by this point, so not many were left to dance along to “Y.M.C.A.”  The bottom of the ninth inning started with Khris Davis striking out.  He had gone 0-for-4 on the night, grounding into a double play with two runners on base to end the first inning.  Yonder Alonso flied out.  He had walked and doubled, going 1-for-3 in the game.  We saw a photo of him wearing a Peet’s Coffee apron and badge on the scoreboard.  Ryon Healy singled to right field.  He had gone 1-for-3 in the game.  He had struck out and hit into a double play that ended the fourth inning, but also walked.  Jaycob Brugman, the last hope, was 1-for-3 with a single coming up to bat.  The count was 1-2 on him when he struck out to end the game.  This game had started at 7:07 with a game time temperature of 70 degrees, and it ended at 10:13.  The attendance was 12,277.  Like Khris Davis, Matt Joyce had gone 0-for-4.  Jed Lowrie had gone 0-for-3 but walked in the first inning.  Josh Phegley was without a hit, but was hit by a pitch.  Rajai Davis was 0-for-2.  Annoyingly, he struck out with Brugman at first base with no outs in the fifth inning.  Vince Cotroneo pointed out to us over the radio that the good feeling from the Yankees series was now a distant memory.  The Astros were showing us that they are a better team than the Yankees.  Cotroneo had said that Jose Altuve had gone without a hit in the first two games of this series, which was incorrect.  The box score for Tuesday’s game showed that Altuve had one hit.  Cotroneo also informed us that Falcon McFalconface would be getting a new wingman, so to speak, a kind of Robin to Batman.  I saw Cotroneo’s tweet showing some of the food from the food trucks, including nachos from Big City, Country Boy.  I listened to Chris Townsend talk about Manaea’s failure to get an out three chances with the count at 0-2.  I was just anxious to go home. Some of the people who died on June 22 include David O, Selznick (1965), Judy Garland (1969), Fred Astaire (1987), Pat Nixon (1993), Ann Landers (2002), George Carlin (2008), and Dody Goodman (2008).  Today is a birthday for Bruce Campbell (59), Cyndi Lauper (64), Meryl Streep (68), Lindsay Wagner (68), Todd Rundgren (69), and Kris Kristofferson (81).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for June 22, “The Fall of the House of Usher” was released in 1960.  In 1968, Herb Alpert had the Number One single, “This Guy’s in Love with You.”  In 1973, David Bowie released the single “Life on Mars?”  In 1979, “The Muppet Movie” was released.  In 1990, the sequel “RoboCop 2” was released.  In 1993, Wilson Pickett pled guilty to drunken driving charges after he had struck an 86-year-old pedestrian named Pepe Ruiz in Englewood, New Jersey.  In 1995, “Apollo 13” had its premiere at the Academy Theater in Beverly Hills.

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Sonny Gray’s Rocky First Inning

I walked from the theatre over to the bus stop for the 1 bus, which I took to go out towards the Coliseum.  I talked with one rider who asked me about the Rickey Henderson jersey giveaway coming up on July 15.  I sat down under the shade of a tree and listened to the news.  I heard that Daniel Day-Lewis was retiring from the movies.  I thought back to his appearance in “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”  The gates opened early so that we could see batting practice.  A bonus for us on this day was that the prospect Austin Beck was out there taking swings, and he looked quite good.  After batting practice ended, I headed to the food trucks and bought a teriyaki chicken plate, which was actually in a container, and a cookies and cream ice.  A breeze was making the hot temperature tolerable, and the night would actually get cool before it was over.  I watched a woman near me singing along to “Proud Mary.”  Before the A’s took the field, we heard Steve Miller’s “Rock ‘N Me.”  Sonny Gray had what Ken Korach on the radio called a rocky first inning against the Astros.  He went to a 3-1 to the game’s first batter before giving up a home run.  A walk and a single put him into more trouble before he got a double play ground ball.  He went to a 2-2 count to the next hitter, but then gave up a double for another run.  Gray then allowed a discouraging walk on four pitches, went to 0-2 on the next batter, and then gave up a double for a third run.  The eighth hatter in the inning came up, and Gray surrendered a single for two more runs.  After a stolen base, an error by Ryon Healy prolonged the torture of the inning.  The tenth batter of the inning was finally the last, with a ground ball going to Healy.  Sonny Gray had thrown 38 pitches in the inning, and his ERA had increased from 4.44 to 5.20.  The A’s managed to answer the Houston runs with what Korach called a mini-statement.  With two outs, Jed Lowrie singled and Khris Davis doubled for one run.  Gray pulled himself together and managed to get through four scoreless innings, although none of them was a clean inning.  He gave up a walk with two outs in the second, hit a batter with a pitch with two outs in the third, allowed a single with one out in the fourth, and allowed a single and a walk in fifth.  He lowered his ERA from 5.20 to 4.84 over that stretch.  We heard “Born to Be Wild” before the A’s came to bat in the third inning.  On the radio, Eric Kubota talked about Austin Beck.  We heard Bob Melvin talk about this nervousness in working out in front of the Baltimore Orioles at the Coliseum years ago.  The A’s got a bit closer to the Astros with a Chad Pinder home run.  The A’s were chipping away, in Korach’s words.  In the fourth inning, Khris Davis singled and Yonder Alonso doubled for a promising start.  Ryon Healy hit the ball well, but the line drive went for an out, although it drove in another run, making the score 5-3.  Stephen Vogt drew a walk on four pitches, but Rajai Davis hit into a 4-6-3 double play.  In the fifth inning, Jaycob Brugman walked with one out and reached second base on a passed ball, but then Chad Pinder and Jed Lowrie both struck out.  John Axford pitched the top of the sixth inning and allowed only a double with one out.  In the bottom of the inning, Khris Davis doubled.  He went to third base on a ground ball out to first.  With a good chance to drive in a run, Healy struck out.  The low, sinking outside pitch is a weakness for him.  Josh Phegley pinch-hit for Vogt and hit the ball to left field for the third out.  Daniel Coulombe pitched the top of the seventh inning, and he had a clean inning, lowering his ERA from 1.93 to 1.85.  Korach praised the job that he was doing this season.  In the bottom of the ending, Rajai Davis doubled.  Adam Rosales annoyingly made an out that didn’t advance the runner.  Brugman singled to bring the A’s to within one run at 5-4.  Pinder and Lowrie made outs.  Liam Hendriks pitched the top of the eighth inning and got off to a bad start by giving up a double and a walk.  A fly ball to center and a strikeout got him close to escaping the inning, but then he allowed a walk to load the bases and gave up a first-pitch single that suddenly made the score 7-4.  Ray Fosse called the hit a dagger.  A line drive to right field was the third out, too late.  In the bottom of the inning, Khris Davis, Yonder Alonso, and Ryon Healy all struck out against the former A’s pitcher Luke Gregerson.  Michael Brady made his debut for the A’s in taking the mound for the top of the ninth inning.  Unfortunately, the first batter he faced hit a home run, making the score 8-4.  Brady’s ERA went from infinity to 27.00 with a call that Rosales caught.  It went down to 13.50 with a foul ball that Alonso caught.  It remained at 13.50 when Brady hit the next batter with a pitch.  It went down to 9.00 when Phegley threw out the runner trying to steal second base.  In the bottom of the ninth inning, Phegley doubled.  Rajai Davis hit the ball hard to the left side for what looked for a moment like a double, but it was a line drive out.  Adam Rosales struck out.  He was 0-for-4 on the night.  Brugman had the count at 3-2 when he struck out, but it was a wild pitch that allowed him to reach first base.  Pinder also got to a 3-2 count, and like Rajai Davis, he hit the ball hard, but it was also a line drive out, and this one ended the game.  The Houston Astros again demonstrated their superiority.  The game started at 7:07 with a game time temperature of 66 degrees, and it ended at 10:35.  The attendance was 15,362.  I was tired and wanted to go home.  I didn’t especially want to hear news about special election results.  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for June 21, the Rolling Stones were banned from New York hotels in 1966.  In 1969, Pete Townsend was detained in Memphis for using the slang term “bomb.”  In 1977, the Martin Scorsese film “New York, New York” was released.  In 1991, “Dying Young,” starring Julia Roberts, was released.  In 2001 Carroll O’Connor died of a heart attack at age 76.

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Cars 3

I used my computer early in the morning to order some items, like the Blu-ray Criterion Collection edition of “Being There” and a Partridge Family cookbook.  I shopped for groceries and then caught the bus headed towards Jack London Square so that I could see an early afternoon showing of “Cars 3.”  I had good memories of the original movie because Paul Newman was the voice of one of the characters, and even my mother, who hates animation, said that she thought it was a good movie.  I thought that “Cars 3” was not a good movie, rather boring at times.  It seemed that the filmmakers were trying to go the way of Toy Story in giving the animated characters human emotions and problems.  The kids going to see this movie don’t want to see a Lightning McQueen who is like their parents.  The story was about aging and dealing with it, and the erosion of the talent you’ve counted on all your life.  I had a suspicion that the themes reflected the people making the film.  What was good about this sequel was that Mater was not the center of the action, as in “Cars 2.”  What was not so good was the long scenes with Owen Wilson talking.  The telling sign of how the audience was perceiving this movie was the restlessness of the little kids in the audience.  They seemed bored for long stretches.  Did we need to see scenes of Lightning McQueen feeling uncertain and trying to decide what to do?  His dilemma was that he couldn’t reach the speed of his rival.  He seemed like a middle-aged man dealing with impotence.  The idea that a car needs to go into training was questionable, but then we have to go to a new location for more training that had shades of “The Black Stallion.”  The use of Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” on the soundtrack was predictable, as there was a generally stale quality to the film.  One thing I had to think about was that if there are male cars and female cars, then how exactly do they reproduce?  I don’t recall a love scene in any of the Cars movies.  The ending wasn’t one of your simple, happy endings, but it also wasn’t too satisfying.  Pixar has certainly done too many sequels in recent years.  They need more people with original ideas.  They need fresher stories.  I stayed until the very end of the credits, and there was a brief scene with Mater, but I’m not sure that it’s worth staying in the theatre just to see that little bit.  The movie did make me want to know a little bit more about Cristela Alonzo.  I missed her television show entirely.  She was born in 1979.  I see that Owen Wilson will turn 49 this year.  Some of the people who died on June 21 include June Christy (1990), John Lee Hooker (2001), Carroll O’Connor (2001), and Leon Uris (2003).  Today is a birthday for Chris Pratt (38), Juliette Lewis (44), Meredith Baxter (70), Michael Gross (70), and Ray Davies (73).

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