Monday, July 4, 2016

Fourth of July Fireworks!!!!

 Happy Fourth of July to you all out there, and let's start it off with cleaning out the Mental In-Box......

  • After an absolutely abysmal month of June, the Pirates have rebounded with a little streak wherein that have won 7 of their last 9 games, and clawed their way back to .500 at 41-41.  During that stretch a bullpen which wasn't worthy of the name has now put together a string of 32 consecutive unsecured upon innings.  Baseball is, indeed, a funny game.
  • The Pirates now have seven games before the All-Star break against the Cardinals and the Cubs, the two teams above them in the standings.  It would be nice if they could go, say, 5-2 in those games, and it would really, really behoove them to win at least two of three from the Cubs.
  • Speaking of the Cubs, at 51-30 they hold a substantial eight game lead in the NL Central, so they cannot be taken lightly, but they have become mortal in recent weeks, and at least four other teams, San Francisco, Washington, Cleveland, and Texas have records within two games of theirs.  So, we can hold off calling them the '27 Yankees for just a bit now, can't we?
  • On of my favorite issues of Sports Illustrated arrived this week, the annual "Where Are They Now" issue.  While SI has pandered to the reality show culture of the times by placing Caitlyn Jenner on the cover, the stories in the issue are terrific, and I am still only about halfway through.  Even the story on Jenner is a good read.
  • And speaking of Jenner, here is a statistic that might blow your mind.  The point total that Jenner complied in winning the Decathlon in the 1976 Olympics would have been good enough to earn a medal in seven of the nine subsequent Olympic Games, and three of them would have been Gold Medals.  In a world where athletic accomplishments are always being toppled, that is an amazing fact.
  • I just finished reading Raymond Chandler's 1953 novel "The Long Goodbye", and I can tell you that it was appropriately named in that it was LONG.  Or, at least it seemed so.  This is always considered Chandler's finest novel and is a landmark in the world of both detective and literary fiction.  Chandler did indeed have a way with worlds and could craft some elegant descriptions of noir characters and settings, but excuse me for saying that  emperor has no clothes.  A good story, but it was too long, and had at least one superfluous character in it.  I have read many, many detective novels that are just as good and better.
  • For some reason, namely Wimbledon, ESPN has pushed the 4th of July Hot Dog Eating contest from Noon to 3:00 PM.  It's bad enough when television decreed that World Series games be played at night, but taking this sacrosanct event out of the traditional Noon start is going too far!
I shall close this post with a picture of one of the All-Time Great Founding Fathers, the author of the Declaration if Independence, the Third President of the United States, and surely one of the great minds of all time, Thomas Jefferson.  The holiday we celebrate today, and, indeed, the country in which we live, would not have been possible without him and his fellows back in the late 18th Century.

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