Thursday, February 28, 2019

Top Ten TV Shows.

My ten favorite shows currently on TV.
1. The Kids Are All Right. Hilarious every week. Like many in the 60’s/70’s, the parents are tough, and more devoted to each other than their kids – which seems strange in this age of helicopter parenting.

2. The Neighborhood: excellent for many reasons. Dave’s enthusiasm. Cedric’s grumpiness. The wives’ friendship. Cedric’s sons.
3. Last Man Standing: still good after all these years. The cancellation and move to Fox has jump-started the show, giving it fresh perspective and renewed enthusiasm.

4. Schooled. I love a good high school sitcom. I’d never watched The Goldbergs, but might have to give it a try.

5. This Is Us. I just started watching this season. May have to go back and start from the beginning.

6. Chicago Med. Excellent characters, though every year the show gets more liberal.

7. New Amsterdam. You root for the main character. He’s implementing liberal policies but they don’t make a big show about it.

8. Fresh Off the Boat. Not as good as it used to be, but still good. Odd that a show set in the 90’s has storylines from present day.  

9. The Voice. The fun interplay between the judges often overshadows the music, which is fine with me.

10. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. On Amazon Prime TV. Too blue for Ceil.

HM: The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Some don’t like him. I like him better than the other hosts, though James Corden is a ball of energy.
That new show Whiskey Cavalier looks good. We might start watching, though those 10 pm starts are killers.

We started to watch Manifest but lost interest. Same with The Good Doctor.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Fall / Winter Reading List

Haven’t compiled a reading list since last July. In alphabetical order by author, like the library. In addition to my books on CD, I’ve started downloading audio books to my phone, so theoretically I can listen while I exercise.
Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg. Checked out this book to learn more about the Parks & Recreation costar and his comedy. Turned out to be an actual research book about modern romance.
The Bishop’s Pawn, a Novel (Cotton Malone #13) by Steve Berry. Cotton in first person. His first government adventure, an alternative MLK assassination story.  
Tom Clancy Under Fire (a Jack Ryan Jr Novel Book One) by Grant Blackwood. Been a long time since I picked up a Jack Ryan novel. I need to catch up.
Polk: the Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America, by Walter Borneman. Who knew James K Polk did so much?
Sisters First: Stories from our Wild and Wonderful Life, by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush. Behind the scenes at both their grandfather’s and their father’s White House, plus growing up in Dallas at the ballpark and governor’s mansion in Austin, through 9-11 to their lives today.
A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George, by Kelly Carlin. Those expecting a book all about George be warned, his daughter’s book is more about her, and her demons. But Kelly makes it clear her father, while thoughtful and creative, was far from the spokesperson conservatives have made him out to be.  
Earn the Right to Win: How Success in any Field Starts with Superior Preparation, by Tom Coughlin. Good stories on the coach’s days with the Giants, and starting the Jaguars from scratch.
Lion in the White House: A Life of Theodore Roosevelt, by Aida Donald. Other reviews agree: this biography leaves readers wanting more. Short on details, long on agreeing with Teddy’s point of view. Lots of “he always…” and “he never...” Thought I was reading a grammar school textbook.
In Pieces, by Sally Field. A revealing autobiography by a beloved actress. Field describes the sexual abuse from her stepfather, and the ups and downs of her career and close relationships.  
Red War (A Mitch Rapp Novel #15), by Kyle Mills and Vince Flynn.
The Garner Files: A Memoir, by James Garner and James Winokur. Introduction by Julie Andrews. Maverick doesn’t hold back.
No More Mr. Nice Guy, by Robert Glover.
Camino Island: a Novel, by John Grisham. A great story.
Uncommon Type, Some Stories by Tom Hanks. Who knew Tom Hanks had a thing about typewriters? In his first book the actor weaves his fixation into several short stories.
The Nightingale: A Novel, by Kristin Hannah. Excellent read. WWII era.
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, by Jon Krakauer. Primer not only on a terrible disaster, but also a glimpse into what it takes to climb the world’s tallest mountain, the business side, and the personalities of several of the top climbers in the world.
Rocket Men: the Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon, by Robert Kurson. Hundreds of stories, with details about the space program I’d never known before.
Kick Kennedy: The Charmed Life and Tragic Death of the Favorite Kennedy Daughter, by Barbara Learning.
The Abolition of Man, by C.S. Lewis.
Mere Christianity, by C. S Lewis.
Grace: More than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine, by Max Lucado
An Object of Beauty, by Steve Martin. Interesting, intricate descriptions, characters, and story by the comedian / actor/ musician / playwright.
The Yankee Years, by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci. Winning under Torre looked easy for the Yankees, but the reality was anything but.
Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds, by Jen Wilken. Read by my Sunday School class’ small groups, both male and female.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Photo Tuesday

Anna and Matthew are downtown tonight,
attending the Pinegrove concert in Underground Atlanta.
Just in: NASCAR driver Chase Elliott helped design this year's Braves trucker cap giveaway. Maybe I'll find one at a thrift store.
Ranks behind last year's tomahawk cap, and the 2017 feather cap.
 Had a request for Roy Campanella.
 What might have been.
 Above the Rose Bowl.
 Ceil art.
Sure, Tech yields the home field advantage
by moving games down Techwood to Mercedes-Benz.
In fact even at Grant Field the Clemson and Irish fans outnumbered Jacket fans. But by playing showcase games on the big stage boosts recruiting - and Tech's bottom line. Get used to it.   

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Psalmist Faced: Doubt

JFBC on Sunday morning. Good lesson on Matthew 3. John the Baptist paved the way for Jesus. Seemed like John expected the fire and brimstone Second Coming Jesus as opposed to the loving, healing, compassionate Jesus that he got. Later while in prison John had doubts, like many of us do. John send a message to Jesus: “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”  Jesus replied “Tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” John would recognize Isaiah’s prophecy in these words.
The upshot: God understands that as fallible humans we sometime have our doubts. John was in prison facing death. You’d never see doubt written into the koran, or book of mormon. Jesus’ response is a great passage to share with muslims to show them that Christ was God: His power over sickness, His power over death, His power over the Earth when He calmed the sea. Muslims are also won over by fulfilled prophecy. 
We usually don't sing in Sunday School, but at the end of the lesson we sang Trust and Obey (we meet in the Chapel). 

Super busy weekend. Friday my meeting was what I expected. Poor Craig has a tough job, and it was good for him to have a win in front of his boss. I had been considering making the same change in how my material was ordered anyway, but just hadn’t pulled the trigger. After that  I was able to work hard to clear off several of the little things that had been sitting around on my desk for a long time.  
Left at five. Had considered getting a haircut but we had to be at the Mayfield’s house at seven. Ceil brought a chocolate cake from Whole Foods and Jennifer had made cocnut chocolate chip cookies. Five us us prayed for a missionary family sent out from our Sunday School class who are moving into another country. Afterwards we got to see and talk to them over the computer (it was 7 am over there).
Long Saturday. Left home at 8 am. Stopped by RaceTrac and Taco Bell, then drove to Macon. Had listed four stores to check out, but three were closed and the other a dud. Made it to the baseball stadium early for an 11 am open house. Walked around taking pictures. Checked out the Macon Bacon caps for sale, but they didn’t have one I liked. The ones they had were camo or too busy. The team unveiled a new jersey at 11:30, so I snapped more pictures. Thought I was near the front of the line for burgers and dogs, but the line was actually somewhere else. I skipped the meal and headed out.
At noon I met my former GT BSU campus minister Al Rahn for lunch at Chickfila. He lives in South Georgia near Statesboro, in Screven County. He’s 78, his wife Jane 82. Al weighs the same as when he retired from Tech. Stays active at his church, a deacon and choir member. He’s been on several mission trips, including to Russia. We had a blast catching up. The CFA was crowded. The Vidalia High baseball team stopped in on their was to a doubleheader in Newnan.

After lunch Al followed me over to my parent’s house, and I loaded some of my old Coke bottles in his car. Al’s Coke collection dates back to the 1940’s. Most of mine were from the 90’s. I had a good workout lugging them all up from the basement. After Al left I ran four more errands: (1) helped my dad with his taxes, (2) to get my mom’s phone fixed and to Kroger, (3) to Cook Out to pick up supper, and (4) back to Cook Out to pick up a meal they’d left off.

Only my second or third time at Cook Out. Like most fast food places everything comes out of the freezer and cooked in the fryer. But unlike most other fast food places everything is relatively cheap. I ordered the mix and match combo meal: a BBQ sandwich, a chicken tender wrap, onion rings, and a toffee shake. My parents got BBQ plates with fries, cole slaw, and hushpuppies. Also butterscotch shakes. A decent deal.
Cook Out also has burgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders. Not busy when we ordered. Not many rings in my meal, and they left off a whole meal which we should’ve caught. Of course when I went back to get the forgotten meal the place was packed – the Reinhart College baseball team had just arrived. I weaved my way to the front of the line and got my meal.

Traffic wasn’t too bad driving back to Atlanta. Was almost ten when a arrived. A long day. Watched the movie Sandlot and the beginning of an awards show while playing on my laptop.
Man the JFBC service doesn’t let out until every bit of 12:30, usually 12:35. Ate at Moxie Burger. Our usual chicken sandwich. Crowded. Had to hustle home for small group at 2:30. We meet only a mile from my house. I was sitting on my couch at 2:24 and I thought, ok, in one minute I gotta get up and go. Then I nodded off and when I woke up it was 2:26. Good thing I didn’t fall asleep for longer!
Another food story: couple months ago we ate with the two other couples in my small group, at a Thai restaurant in East Cobb. We had a great time together, but to me the food was just okay. Now its time for us to go out again, and Rob mentioned a great Korean BBQ place just inside the Perimeter. Sounded better than the Dim Sung they’d talked about before, the chicken feet and such.
This week is missions conference at JFBC, with people coming in from all around the world. We’ll have a guest speaker next week in Sunday School (a missionary who used to be in our class) and in worship. Saturday night our Sunday School is gathering at a house to hear a different missionary speak. Big sold out dinner Friday night that we aren’t attending.    
Went home after small group and crashed. Ceil was working on school and her small group. Watched a little golf, some Hallmark Channel, Fresh From the Heart, some of the Red Carpet, and some of the Oscars. Stayed up late trying to get something to work on the computer. Got one thing working but not another.
For supper Ceil grilled a quesadilla, and I had leftover Valentines ice cream and Friday night’s chocolate cake for dessert. Even with all the eating I finished the weekend at a low weight.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Bring Back the Peaches

As a kid playing ball at Macon's Vine-Ingle Little League in the late 60's,
the team everyone wanted to be on was the Peaches.
Attending a Peaches game at Luther Williams Field was a magical event.
Now this June the Macon Bacon are honoring their predecessors
by wearing Peaches uniforms in one game.
Saturday morning the Bacon, a college summer league team in their second year of operation, held an open house and announced the event. Two local news stations covered the unveiling.
The jerseys appear to be throwbacks to the polyester era of the 1970's,
though I'm not sure they're modeled after an actual Peaches jersey.  
Team president Brandon Raphael made the announcement. A St. Louis native, Raphael played baseball for Maryville College in Missouri. 
While the uniforms weren't available, caps and t-shirts were.
Pretty sure these wordmarks and logos are new creations
and not specific to any period. 
A decent t-shirt. Unlike some of the Bacon shirts for sale in the team shop, 
 I don't think these Peaches shirts are scratch and sniff.
A tribute to the 1962 league champion Peaches is displayed outside the ballpark. Note former Peach Pete Rose (#11, lower left).
Rose in action.
I had in mind a Macon Bacon cap I wanted to buy, so I could represent my hometown while out and about in Atlanta. The original home cap is genius with the simple bacon M and burgundy bill, but none were for sale in the team shop. I passed on other options, including two different came caps, a white front cap, a cheaper all black cap, and several versions with the hard to see Bacon mascot. No loss - I have too many caps already.
The seats were numbered in the team's bacon font.
I resisted the urge to peel off a sticker, which you could tell were stuck on top of the previous seat number stickers.
This was my first visit back to Luther Williams Field in well over twenty years, since I saw Chipper Jones play a game there for the Macon Braves.
The second-oldest minor league park in the country looks much better since the white paint was blasted off, exposing the original red brick.
Several movies have been filmed at Luther Williams,
including Trouble With the Curve, 42,
The Other Boys of Summer,
and The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars and Motor Kings.
The original wood roof was replaced with tin,
and the old wooden bleacher benches have been replaced with plastic seats. Before the Bacon began play last year they refurbished the ballpark,
adding pavilions down each baseline.
 Not sure I saw Rose play in Macon.
Blue Moon Odom didn't play for the Peaches, but the Macon native made his hometown proud as a member of the world champion A's.
 Several interesting plaques posted around the park.

When I was 13 playing Pony League baseball,
a teammate's father worked for the recreation authority,
so our team got to practice in the park.
I hadn't seen this plaque before.
Hopefully by Mercer friends haven't either.

Several Negro League ballplayers also had plaques in the park, including Robert Scott, whom I had met earlier this month. When Macon Bacon director of group sales Brittany Middleton, from nearby Lizella, saw me taking an interest in Scott's plaque, she asked if I'd met Mr. Scott. She said Scott had made it out to several games last year.
Not all the paint has been removed.

One of the park's features: the trains rolling past beyond the outfield.
The train traffic may have been more active back in the 60's,
capturing the attention of at least one young boy.  
I grew up reading Harley Bowers' columns
in the Macon Telegraph's sports section,
and for better or worse
my writing style was most surely impacted by him. 

The Macon Bacon missed a great chance to have a pig for their mascot. What were they thinking?