Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Global catastrophes averted as softball season comes to an end

Well that’s that. Un-barricade your doors, hose the lamb’s blood off your porch, remove the garlic from around your neck and also from your back pockets. Another adult league softball season has come to a merciful, surprisingly bloodless, conclusion.   
                My team stormed, just stormed into the playoffs last night the owner of two hard-fought, gutsy victories. Well, one of those and one forfeit, but that’s irrelevant.
                There we were. In the playoffs. Well represented too. Our team had more people last night than at any other point this season that I can remember and very nearly everyone was early to boot. Our hopes for advancing to the next round were sky high. And then slowly, sadly, the members of the other team began to trickle in, increasing their roster size from two to the required number of players. Despite the tragic misfortune of the other team’s presence, we, as a team, agreed to play on.
                I settled into my home in right center field. Somehow, even though we had lots of players, that is where I remained the entire game. Logic and good sporting strategy would have me alternating between catching and warming the bench for the five inning contest. I may be better suited for those other roles, but if you’re going to play me and you’re going to allow me to go more than five tiny baby steps from my own dugout, then somewhere in right is really where you want me. The damage I can inflect from there will likely be minimal.
                It was actually a busier night than one might expect in right. The other team had a nasty habit of driving grounders between our first and second basemen, forcing me to charge in, pick the ball up in my glove, toss it to the nearest person who wasn’t me and then jog back to right center. Luckily for myself and my team and the good state of Pennsylvania, the other team only managed to get the ball in the air to right one time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How to Buy the Perfect Greeting Card: A 5-Step Proven Methodology

At just after 6 a.m. Monday morning, I stumbled sleepily through the doors of my neighborhood supermarket and headed towards the greeting card department. I’d promised a friend that I would buy a birthday card for one of his friends and then – as I’m wont to do – completely forgot about it until nearly the last second. The sleep was still crusty in my eyes, I still hadn’t fully accepted the fact that I hadn’t won the lottery - as that dream had suggested – and yet there I was, entering a supermarket first thing in the morning, because I’m a good guy. I mean, I’m no hero, I’m just like, the best guy. Does that still count as humility? Sure, it does.
                Anyway, so supermarket at 6 a.m. One important thing to note: On my way to the card area, I passed several people who were doing their grocery shopping. At 6 a.m., the hour of the beast, on a Monday morning. Who were they? I wondered to myself. Those strange beings who inhabit the cleaning supply aisle before the sun rises on a new work week? Why were they so desperate for cleaning supplies? Were they germaphobic insomniacs? Serial killers? Ghosts of people who died while shopping for cleaning supplies?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

3 Ways to Survive Thinking About the Destruction of Society... and Softball Recap

There’s been a bit of hubaloo going on this week about the “mini ice age” we’re all supposedly in store for between the years 2030 and 2040 or there abouts. In case you missed it, allow me, a man with no science background whatsoever, to explain.
                In the year 2030, the sun is going to go on a “stay-cation,” meaning it’s going to take a little time for itself, without going anywhere. It’ll do a few chores around the house, maybe catch up on its Netflix and onDemand and stuff. Lot of John Oliver to watch. Anyway, during this lull in solar activity, some scientists think Earth will cool off drastically, leading to a mini-ice age. Temperatures will be colder, polar bears will be bear-ier and snowball fights will leave the realm of children’s games and be elevated to settle disputes on a global scale. Sort of like what happened with the card game “WAR.”
                The scientist leading the charge on this points to a similar situation which occurred way back in the 1700s. However, other scientists are like “Na-uh, that didn’t happen that way.” In fact, those negative scientists are saying the mini ice age won’t be a thing at all. They claim we need to be way more worried about global warming than we do about the sun taking a decade to find itself.
As is the case when scientists disagree over science, the rest of us are left scratching our heads and waiting for Al Gore or Leo DiCaprio to show up and tell us what to think. I’d also accept the aforementioned John Oliver or the “South Park” guys should those first two options be unavailable.
Even though the mini ice age may turn out to be more of a bust than “Ice Age 2” – face it, that movie was not great – I still took the news seriously and by seriously I mean I went through the usual routine I follow whenever news of a pending global disaster breaks. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Lock Your Doors, Bolt Your Windows - It's Softball Time

I swear this isn’t another blog strictly about animals … but can we talk about animals for a second? Have you noticed them acting in a peculiar fashion lately? I’m talking about geese flying south despite the heat? Cats incessantly scratching at their right ear? Dogs leaving their place at your side only to turn up hours later, whimpering softly to themselves in a dark and empty room? Squirrels putting on tiny fedoras, gathering their possessions into a bindle and thumbing it out of town?
                Of course you have. I feel silly even asking. Well, all of these ominous signs can only mean one thing – I’ve returned to softball. See? And you were worried this was going to be about animals. Nope, it’s about softball. 
            Me, the world’s worst softball player, the person who managed to injure himself in an adult league softball pick-up game so badly that it required surgery. The person who once played an entire season of baseball and only got on base twice, once via getting hit by a pitch and once via walk.
Yup, nothing left to do now but board up your windows, check that you’ve got spare batteries for all of your radios and flashlights, put on a pot of coffee and wait out the reminder of the season. Luckily for the Southeastern Pennsylvania region, the season is already halfway over. I missed the first part recovering from the surgery I got as a result of my previous softball odyssey.
My first game was actually not this past Monday but the one before it. My write up of that – and my warning to all of civilization – was preempted by my need to review “Terminator: Genisys.” So, sorry about that. Here’s what went down in handy bulleted form. To get yourself into the proper frame of mind while reading this, it is important to picture all of what follows in the Chiller text style.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

'Terminator: Genisys' overcomes its faults, is fun

Lowered expectations may just be the best friend of “Terminator: Genisys.” I walked into that movie last night wanting to love it but expecting to be let down by it. When I walked out of the theater, my eyes were sore from the 3-D and my wallet was light from the IMAX, but my soul, well, that had been mildly uplifted by what unfolded on the big screen during the preceding two hours and change.
               It’s my humble opinion that, if you go in knowing it can never hope to top parts one and two and that part three is slightly out of its range, and are OK with those things, you’ll enjoy “Genisys.” You may even like it better than part four. Luckily, since it’s tracking at about a 26% right now on Rotten Tomatoes with critics, raised expectations are likely not going to be an issue. Also, for what it’s worth, “Genisys” is sitting at about 76% with average viewers, so either the critics have helped to sufficiently lower folks’ expectations – or maybe they’re just being crum bums about it.
“Genisys” opens with Judgment Day, the day the machines start the war on humanity. It establishes the necessary backstory quickly: John Connor (Jason Clarke) is leading the humans to an improbable victory with the help of his righthand man Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) and the machines are pissed. On what looks like the last night of the war, with Connor and Reese closing in, the machines send a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger kinda) back to 1984 to kill John’s mom Sarah (Emilia Clarke). John sends Kyle back and bam! We’re suddenly watching a redone version of 1984’s “The Terminator.”
Instead of following the pattern laid down in the first two sequels – sending a new Terminator after the last one fails – “Genisys” tries something pretty ambitious by sending a Terminator ahead of what happened in the last films, essentially retconning the continuity of the entire series and it’s hard not to appreciate the effort.