Saturday, May 28, 2016

Yankees wearing new matte helmets on road | MLB.com

Yankees wearing new matte helmets on road | MLB.com:

'via Blog this'


I was watching the game today and I thought something looked wrong. The helmets! It look like the players were wearing rubber bowling balls on their heads!

It turns out these are new "matte finish" helmets that the team will wear on the road. The shiny helmets are gone for road games now. I have no idea if they are safer, or have any advantages at all, but I don't like them. They make the team look like they are one step away from figures out of the old movie "Rollerball", what with all the other protective gear that hitters wear these days. Elbow pads, shin guards, batting gloves, it's starting to not even look like baseball anymore.

I know the trend is for teams to wear all manner of "alternate" uniforms and caps. The new designs really juice the memorabilia market, and that's big bucks. My preference is for maintaining the traditional uniforms. The new stuff just looks goofy to me.

Expanded replay rules, changing the strike zone and now funky helmets. The trends are not my friends.




Friday, May 27, 2016

Mythbusters

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Myth: A big Broadway hit will help all of Broadway.

Fact: A mega hit on Broadway sucks all the oxygen out of the room, leaving other shows to struggle for leftover crumbs. This year is a great example. The most mega-y hit in years, Hamilton, has helped Broadway as a whole to reach yet another new high in revenue. Just beneath the surface of these numbers shows a different story. A first ever reduction in average ticket price and a reported 27% drop in revenue for straight plays. Those high revenues are flowing to the perennial Disney shows, Wicked, Book of Mormon, and now Hamilton. Early casualties this season include, American Psycho, Tuck Everlasting, Disaster, with others to follow shortly. High profile plays like Hughie and Misery flamed out and failed to recoup.

Myth: Whistling in a theater is bad luck.

Fact: This may or may not be true, but just don't do it!

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

American Horror Story

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We don't really have much to worry about. Democrats outnumber Republicans by a wide margin in this country. We have a two term President ending his term with a high approval rating, always a help to his party's nominee. The Democrats have a thoughtful, successful and competent candidate with an impeccable resume. The Republicans have an untested, unproven and highly questionable candidate with little more than name recognition going for him. Democrats and thoughtful Independents should not panic, everything points to a happy election result this coming fall.

It's a cinch. Al Gore will easily beat George W. Bush.

While past results do not guarantee future results, we know that what's past is prologue.

Cue the scary music.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Fun Night

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In the age of Netflix, I find that I don't get to go out to see movies so much anymore. On Demand, YouTube and Amazon Video make it so very easy to stay in.

Well, it's time for a change. This week, Sunday night will be movie night, and since nothing is as simple as it used to be, I got a gift that's name says it all.

I don't remember ever having to prep for a movie, but it has been a while since I've gone to one.

I'll let you know how everything comes out. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Suburbia

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I was driving my kids to school this morning and I had the car radio on, listening to the morning show on a local 'classic rock' station. The hosts are your typical morning radio sort, guys making calculatingly boorish comments to their ageing, mostly white male audience. The usually amusing banter is interspersed with Led Zeppelin songs to assuage the lost youth of the listeners.

Today's commentary was about a twenty-two year old black woman working at a Staten Island Home Depot who was videod wearing a hat that said "America Was Never Great" and the ensuing viral controversy swirling around it. Let's call the hosts Abbott and Costello for the sake of not singling these guys out, this could have happened almost anywhere, obviously, given the stale nature of morning radio these days.

Abbott introduced the story, and Costello offers up the expected tirade about, "why doesn't this punk kid say that to a veteran? Or to the families of vets that fought and died for this country? Where does she work, Home Depot? Why can't she get off her lazy ass and stop waiting for everything to be handed to her? I can't stand people like this."

Abbott then played a clip from an interview with the woman where she said, "I'm wearing this hat because of Donald Trump, and how he singles out people for whatever group they're in, If you're not white, or if you disagree with him, he puts you down. It's like if you're not like he is, he's gonna put you out. Donald Trump is for only his sort of people. If he becomes president, what's going to happen? I don't hate America, I'm just expressing my opinion."

Abbott asked if her explanation made any difference to Costello. "What if she's a recent grad and can only find a job at Home Depot? Since she's a Black American, do you think it may be that people older than her, in her family, experienced things in the past that weren't so great?" Costello was unmoved. "Nah, makes no difference."

So, I dropped my kids off at school. Living on Long Island, where economic inequality is rampant, where segregation is as bad as it ever was, where even the purveyors of rock and roll music can be as rigidly conservative and subliminally racist as a humorless Archie Bunker, it's hard to be hopeful about where this country is headed.

Communication breakdown, it's always the same.  

Team of the Century

                            

Eighteen years ago today, during the early part of what would become their greatest season, the Yankees brawled with their division rivals the Baltimore Orioles following a beaning of Tino Martinez by Armando Benitez, after a Bernie Williams home run.

Unlike most basebrawls, this wasn't a brief gathering on the field with a little pushing and shoving. The entire Yankees team, bullpen included, completely engulfed the Orioles, pushing them off the field and continuing into the visitor's dugout. They would ultimately do the same thing to MLB that year, if only metaphorically, as they steamrolled to their complete conquest of all opponents that year.

Watching this video now, eighteen years later, it is striking(!) how things have changed. The Yankees are struggling mightily, unlike the well-oiled machine that the 1998 team was.

What a year that was, and what a team!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

All Clear, Again

             

I'm happy to report the results of my second post cancer surgery ct scan shows all clear. The doctor is happy, and I won't need another for six months. Fantastic, and a sweet relief!

It still feels surreal to me, the events of last October/November. It's hard to wrap my head around all that has happened. First, a surprise finding on a ct scan, then two surgeries in quick succession, and then rehab. It almost feels like it was all just a bad dream. The scars say it was real.

I wish I could figure out a way to make it all matter in a meaningful way. It's quite easy for me to not think about it, just submerge myself in the same normal day to day routine I had prior to the surgeries. I'm not quite back to full strength, but close. I've been lucky. Do I just move on, or am I missing something?

After the surgery, while I was home recuperating, I found several websites that bring together cancer patients with similar diagnoses. I subscribed to one site that sends daily email updates of it's message boards. The trouble is, after reading only a few of these postings, I am unable to continue. It's too tough to read of the fear and pain and sadness that so many people are enduring. The recurrences, the treatments, their side effects.  It's hard enough to deal with my own fear, and that of my family. Reading these messages is just unbearable.

But I haven't been able to unsubscribe. Each day I open the email and scan the subjects, newly updated, but I don't read them. My ct scan was clear, but not everything is.  

The TodayTix Tax

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As the Broadway season winds down, some preliminary numbers on the soon to end season have come out. It's been reported that grosses are up a bit (0.6%), as is attendance (1.6%). In this, the year of Hamilton, and the eternal mega hits from Disney and Wicked, it is perhaps curious that the average ticket price is down for the first time in many years to $103.24.

It might be hard to wrap one's head around this odd happenstance, but I believe a major reason for this is the continued rise of TodayTix, that app that resells Broadway tickets via its mobile platform.

TodayTix specializes in promoting the most inexpensive seats available for Broadway show. Their ubiquitous ads and easy to use app have appeal to the young and less well heeled theater goers. While this price conscious cohort has historically been the main audience at the TKTS booth, or users of various coupons and codes that are offered by Broadway show producers, TodayTix has been successful at diverting these folks to their cheaper offerings.

TKTS and other discounts offered by Broadway shows typically apply to the highest priced tickets. Half off of an orchestra seat at TKTS will still cost upwards of $75-$80, and perhaps more on a direct mail offering. TodayTix actively promotes from the bottom up. That is, they advertise the lowest price available to the public, usually balcony or rear mezzanine.

The result of the TodayTix sales, and the sales of their rapidly sprouting competitors, is that a portion of the Broadway audience is being moved away from higher priced discounts to lower priced seating choices. The audience may be roughly the same in number, but the revenue received by the shows will, of course, be less. Hence, the lower average ticket price this year in spite of the shockingly high prices some shows are getting.

TodayTix has claimed that they are bringing in new audiences. That claim remains unproven, but the numbers on the Broadway season speak for themselves.