Pitch Perfect

Pitch is probably the the best TV drama that you’re not watching right now. Sports fans are ignoring it because “Oh how ridiculous a girl baseball player” and non fans are like, ” Ugh, another show about sports”.

PITCH: L-R: Tim Jo, Meagan Holder, Mo McRae, Kylie Bunbury, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mark Consuelos, Ali Larter and Dan Lauria in PITCH premiering Thursday, Sept. 22 (9:00 - 10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX © 2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Tommy Garcia / FOX.
PITCH: L-R: Tim Jo, Meagan Holder, Mo McRae, Kylie Bunbury, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mark Consuelos, Ali Larter and Dan Lauria in PITCH premiering Thursday, Sept. 22 (9:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX © 2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Tommy Garcia / FOX.

My opinion is that there’s enough there to keep both those demographics content. Last week I was catching up on the show on Hulu and Janet started watching and was totally drawn in and she couldn’t care less about sports. Kylie Bunbury is so believable as Ginny Baker the first female MLB player. Mark-Paul Gosselaar nails the part of the aging veteran teammate with a heart of gold that takes Ginny under his wing. I had no idea he was that good an actor when he was Zack on Saved By The Bell.

Sure you could pick apart details like her father when showing her how to throw a screwball has his fingers set for throwing a circle change but only hardcore fans would complain about that. There’s plenty of drama and character development to keep you interested in the story. It’s like Friday Night Lights in that it’s a show about people of which some of them have sports as part of their lives but there is very little actual sports being shown.

That said, having the full cooperation of Major League Baseball makes this show feel really authentic. They find a way to work actual game footage and current players and sportscasters into the mix which is very cool.

The most important thing about Pitch is the inspiration a show like this could be for young girls, and they really drive this home some would say to the point of being preachy. Given the results of the recent election, I don’t think you can downplay the woman hate that goes on in society in general or sports specifically. Even in the comments section for videos promoting the show there is so much vitriol. I personally believe that a woman could play pro baseball. She would have to be a pitcher or maybe a slick fielding middle infielder and be a generational talent like Serena Williams. And the biggest obstacle she would have to overcome wouldn’t  be MLB hitters, but the old boy system that likes to keep things the way they’ve always been.

The Man Who Would Be Prince

Thursday April 21st 2016 was a tragic day in many aspects. WWE great Chyna was found dead in her home. A 16 year old girl was murdered in a school bathroom by other teenage girls(WTF???). Prince Rogers Nelson, one of the greatest rock icons of all time died at his Paisley Park estate. All this happening within hours of each other, each event shocking enough to dominate the news cycle. It was the passing of the man called Prince that would stun the world.

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My one and only time I got to attend a Prince performance was 1981 at Park West in Chicago. Anyone familiar with the venue knows it’s very intimate, basically a night club. I remember there was a 2 drink minimum. The Dirty Mind album was his latest effort and the band was touring to promote it. We had seats on the main floor maybe 30-40 feet from the stage. Prince came out dressed in the trench coat, boots and manties he wore on the album cover. His band was pre-revolution with Dez, Dr. Fink, Andre, Bobby Z and Lisa, no Wendy just yet. I don’t remember how long they played but I do remember being blown away by this guy who we thought was maybe just a gimmick and knowing that we had been in the presence of greatness. From that point on I bought all of his albums and was a fan for life. Two years later, Purple Rain hit and the rest as they say is history.

The untimely deaths of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston really didn’t surprise me that much. Both their lives had been in a downward spiral to some degree so when the news came I was saddened but not shocked. The Prince thing really caught me off guard. I imagined him being a funky old man like George Clinton making music for years to come and popping up at award shows. Losing him this soon really was a shot to the gut.

At one point Prince to my dismay decided to no longer do his classic songs in concert. His new religion forbid him from using the four letter words that he so cleverly wove into his magical lyrics. I never gave the new material much thought but now I plan on giving it a second chance. Partly because there will be no more forthcoming, and partly because now I’ll listen with a different mindset. The man was constantly cranking out work which was one of the things I admired most about him. He was unafraid of failure. If a record bombed, no biggie here’s some more stuff. And some more stuff. I love that. I wish that I was able to have that drive in my own life.

My White Sox Adventure

I have been a Cubs fan since the days of Banks, Santo & Williams but I was born on the south side. That means a lot of abuse has been sent my way from south siders as well as anyone that thought me a dope for rooting for a bunch of perennial losers.

But all the while I have never hated the White Sox. In fact the pale hose have a special place in my heart. The first ballgame I ever attended was a Sox double header that my uncle brought me to. I still remember being awed by the red pinstripe uniforms because we only had a B&W TV.

It wasn’t until years later I discovered that the Negro League All-Star Game was often held at old Comisky Park, and for years they commemorated that by giving away Chicago American Giants caps as a promotion every year.

 

The 1936 Negro League All Stars at the old Comisky Park.
The 1936 Negro League All Stars at the old Comisky Park.

So even though I bleed cubbie blue I think baseball fans are lucky to have two major league franchises in this city and I still enjoy catching an AL game every now and then.

Jose Abreu, whose dinger would later seal the win.
Jose Abreu, whose dinger would later seal the win.

After scoring a seat in section 520, sixth row even with first base for $5, I settle  back with my Lagunitas IPA and a much anticipated Bill Melton Brat. The brat was disappointment. It was pretty dry, overcooked and burnt in some spots. Since it was covered in onions there was no way I could tell until it was too late. Should have gotten the Beggar’s pizza instead.

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This brat was not worth the heartburn that it gave me later.

Halfway through the top of the second inning a group of teenagers came in. Then another group. Then, I swear to God about 150 of them just swarmed in. Of all the empty sections in a pretty damn empty park this group of youngsters had been assigned section 520. I’ve got nothing against teenagers but I was kind of hoping to just enjoy the game and all of it’s nuances which you don’t really do if you go with a group because then it becomes more of a social event. A few years ago I was at a Blue Jays game in Toronto and was attempting to return to my seat after buying food. The usher stopped me and said ” Sir, please wait until the batter is finished” after which myself and all the other patrons waited until between innings to return to our seats so we wouldn’t obstruct the vision of the seated fans. Americans have no problem putting an ass in your face at any point in the game even if something crucial is happening. Hey, I need my third hot dog, you got a problem with that? With the kids constantly getting up and parading back & forth to the snack bar, by the third inning it was time to move.

The middle schoolers that took over my section. Notice the lack of fans in every other section.
The middle schoolers that took over my section. Notice the lack of fans in every other section.

Luckily for me since the park was so empty sitting in another section wasn’t hard to do. After moving to the first base side I was able to focus on the game which was 1-0 Astros. From then the game took a turn for better for the Sox as well. My guy Geo Soto (ex-cub) hit a home run to put them ahead and Jose Abreu, who was one of the reasons I wanted to see a Sox game in the first place hits a two run shot to give them a cushion and the Sox end up winning 4-1.

The scoreboard celebrating Jose Abreu's insurance home run.
The scoreboard celebrating Jose Abreu’s insurance home run.

Being at the park is fun if you have crazy good seats with parking included, but for me personally, the best seat in the house in in front of your HD TV with a clean restroom just steps away and unlimited food & drink at your fingertips.

 

Popcorn Junkie

Lately I’ve become addicted to Trader Joe’s Chicago Style Popcorn Mix. It’s the closest thing to Garrett’s cheese & caramel popcorn mix and it’s only $3 a bag. Garrett’s Popcorn has been around since 1949 and every since they opened Chicagoans have been standing in line to but their awesome popcorn. Another company has filed a lawsuit against Garrett’s over the use of the term “Chicago Mix” but everybody knows that Garrett’s is the best no matter what they call it.

Part of me feels bad as I’m chowing down on bag after bag of the TJ’s stuff because Janet is allergic to popcorn. So now I try to eat it when she’s not around. Which makes me a secret popcorn eater. God help me.

TJpopcorn

New additions to the Etsy shop

Lately I have been focusing more on the comics than the prints with Awesome 5! #1 now in stores as well as online and Alternative City #0 now at the printer. That said, now is a great time to add some new prints!

The Obama print and The Happy Cat are from larger paintings i did for a couple of fund raisers. You can find out more if you visit our shop. Also don’t forget to like our Facebook page!

Chipotle VS… Taco Bell?

When I saw the commercial touting Taco Bell’s new “Gourmet” “Cantina Bell” menu I had my doubts but I figured what the hell I’ll give it a try. I knew it wouldn’t taste better than Chipotle but I thought it might taste better than the regular Taco Bell burrito that looks kinda like a tortilla that a bird pooped on. Boy was I wrong.

Chipotle chicken burrito bowl on the left, Taco Bell Cantina burrito on the right.

The chicken was tasteless, the rice and beans were bland and what they call guacamole  was almost non existent. I choked some of mine down but Janet only took a bite of hers. Of course Chipotle costs more but it’s so worth it because of the marinated meat and more flavorful toppings. Not to mention the hormone free and ethical way their meat is raised. I could eat Chipotle every day!

 

The Amazing Spider Re-Boot

Alright, alright I know The Dark Knight Rises comes out today but I still want to talk about the new Spider-man movie, The Amazing Spider-Man. They got it right this time. The previous Spidey franchise of movies was more visually appealing than it was true to the original material. This version is to those movies what The Dark Knight series is to Tim Burton’s Batman movies.

Andrew Garfield did a great job of bringing modern teen angst to Peter Parker. He’s a lot closer to the age Peter was when he became the webslinger. Not once during his performance did I think about Tobey Maguire’s stint in the red suit.

Garfield’s real life girlfriend Emma Stone gives an equally compelling portrayal of Pete’s REAL first girlfriend Gwen Stacy. Their onscreen chemistry is natural and unforced. This is the treatment Gwen deserves unlike the one she received in Spiderman 3 (yikes!).

I don’t want to give away too much to those who have not seen it yet or those that aren’t comic readers. Have to say this… you know you’re getting old when Sally Field is playing Aunt May and you can remember watching her play Gidget on TV as a kid! Anyway go see it if you haven’t already…it’s …Amazing!

Original ACEO works now available!

There are two new additions to our etsy shop. One is an ACEO of Nefertiti, a character from Awesome 5! who is the girlfriend of Ramses, the bad guy in issue #1. Even though the real Nefertiti and Ramses never hooked up, these two decided to adopt those personas for their life of crime. The other is a little odd fellow I’m calling Soup Strainer, because of his prominent moustache he sports.

What makes these cards different from the other ACEOs is these are one of a kind originals. Nefertiti is ink and watercolor on 2 ply bristol board and Soupy is watercolor & ink on Strathmore 500 series illustration board, one of the finest materials made for drawing or illustrating IMHO. Both come titled, signed and dated on the back.

I have been meaning to put these up sooner but I’ve been so busy finishing  Awesome 5! #1 (more on that later) that I haven’t had the time. Like the ACEO prints, the originals come with protective sleeves and top loaders with free shipping in the U.S.

Humane Cat Trapping Project – Day 5 Report

black cat outdoors
The cat we saw looked like this, but this is not him

We have learned a lot since I last blogged on Wednesday afternoon.  I had to bring the trap over to our porch late Wed eve so it didn’t get rained on and I noticed a skunk-like smell on it, not super strong but noticeable.  I took that to mean that at least one unneutered male cat had been around the trap and “marked” the covering sheet with a little urine.  Unneutered male cats have urine that smells like skunk scent.

Then Thursday eve when I was bringing out the trap  there was a black cat actually in the area where the trap usually is.  He ran and leapt over the fence when he saw me.  I baited the trap as usual, taking my time.  I figured he’d stay out of view until I was gone, but after about a minute he moved into full view on the other side of the gate, and sat there watching me, about ten feet away from me.  That could indicate that he is not feral, since he let me see him when he didn’t have to.  I only glanced his way so as not to alarm him, then slowly left when I was done with the trap.  Once back in the apartment, Lorenzo and I got to watch him going in and out of the trap eating all of the tuna from our window.  It was a real treat to see so much of a cat we will probably be trapping.  He’s all black, much like this photo here, though the photo is NOT him. In the dim light he was hard to see sometimes, but we did see his eyes and also his tongue as he licked his lips after the tuna.  Mmmmm-good!

Another piece of news is our clinic appointment for the spay/neuter is next Tuesday 11/8/11 so that means the actual trapping night is this Monday evening.  I can’t wait!!!  Last night when we saw him eat he was done by 6:20pm, though tonight he hasn’t shown up yet.  Maybe he’s on his way right now……..

Goodbye Summer 2011

box of strawberry popsicles
Natural strawberry popsicles- guilt free summer fun

Summer 2011 is ending this week, and I think it can be helpful to get closure on the last season and try to embrace the upcoming season.  Summer 2010 we had just moved to our new apartment, so there was a lot of settling in, slowly making the home look and feel like we wanted.  This past summer we were able to enjoy our home more.  We do have central air in this apartment, a first for both Lorenzo and myself, so that felt like a new luxury.  We wanted to save money on electricity but still use our AC on those humid 90 degree days, so we kept the thermostat at a higher temperature.  That worked very well, particularly with liberal use of our secret stay-cool weapon, natural fruit popsicles.  Lorenzo’s favorite is coconut and mine is strawberry.  They’re only 100 calories each, and I’m sure we saved a lot of money on AC because we were keeping cooler by eating popsicles.  Well come to think of it, we did have a lot of popsicles!  On my last shopping trip I bought more, but it will probably be the last time this year.  Now I have to have hot tea afterwards to stay warm.

Janet w/pansies
Summer flowers on our back porch, greeting us every morning

Another thing that stands out about summer is that I finally planted pansies in a window box.  We inherited a large window box planter at the end of last summer, and I had a very specific image in my mind of dark pink pansies for it.  This spring I procrastinated, but this summer I went and got the pansies and  and also a hanging basket of pansies.  I went with my “Little Sister” Jazzy from Big Brothers Big Sisters, so that made the purchasing and planting a million times more special.  Watching a 10 year old city kid make her first mud pies with a bucket, dirt, and a hose was pretty much priceless.  I’m looking forward to having even more fun this fall, and I hope you will too.