Saturday, May 27, 2006

Return of the New York Humidity

Here I am trying to enjoy the last days of my visit to New York. After 2 1/2 weeks of cool spring-like weather today brings hints of the sweltering summer to come. Going outside at 8:30am I was reacquainted with the muggy, humid, cut-with-a-knife type weather that is the east coast in June.

I stepped out and tried taking a deep inhale of what I thought would be cool morning air. What I got instead was warm sweathouse suffocation. Two more pulls on the outdoor air told me what the developing sweat on my forearms already knew, Summer has arrived early and I want no part of it.

So I changed all plans for that outdoor cruise across the hudson today and instead made sure my father's AC (air-conditioner) worked to perfection. I've found that the Tuner Classic channel (TNT) is having a War Movie Marathon and by this evening I hope to be frozen in front of the television full of nostalgic american WWI and WWII trivia answers. I've already watched "The Red Badge of Courage" with Auddie Murphy. Just so happened to be about a young civil war soldier who overcomes his cowardice and finds the courage to fight with a passion never before known to him. I also watched part of the movie "Sargeant York" starring Gary Cooper. I didn't see it all but it had some familiar character actors that gave it a great classic feel.

Oh, the gentleman in the picture is one of those character actors you've seen many times in old movies but may not know his name. He also starred in a few Twilight Zone episodes. He was in The Red Badge of Courage as well. He always plays the Country guy and plays it to perfection. Like a mountain hillbilly with good common sense. His name is Arthur Hunnicut.

I've updated this blog to include more information about Mr. Arthur Hunnicut. I was watching another western (Shoot Out) and spotted him playing his usual character. I felt he deserved more than just a few lines to accompany his picture.

Arthur Hunnicut
Mini biography

Lean, tall American character actor known for playing humorously wise rural roles. He attended Arkansas State Teachers College in his native state, but was forced to drop out in his third year due to lack of funds. He joined a theatre company in Massachusetts, then migrated to New York, where he began to find acting roles on Broadway and on tour. He played in numerous productions, including the leading role in Tobacco Road, a part his rangy country persona was made for. He took a few roles in small films in the early 1940s, then returned to stage work. In 1949, he came back to Hollywood permanently and began a long career as a reliable supporting player. His wonderfully written and vibrantly played role in the Howard Hawks Western The Big Sky (1952) won him acclaim and an Oscar nomination for Supporting Actor. He continued playing similar characters, almost always sympathetic, for remainder of his career. He was stricken with cancer of the tongue and died in 1979.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Barry Blasts Home Run #714 in Oakland

I sure wish I'd been there to see Barry hit HR714 at Network Coliseum in Oakland. What better way to see history than sitting in the stadium of my beloved Raiders. And now that Barry has tied the Babe and due to become the lone number 2 spot holder of career home runs in major league baseball, I think it's time to start reporting on the team that inspired this blog, The Oakland Raiders. Because as has been mentioned before, there are 31 teams in the national football league, and then there are the Oakland Raidrs.

So Barry Bonds, congratulations. I hear that the Network Coliseum fans showed Barry much love and Barry was happy to have hit 714 in a game played in the Bay Area. Good luck chasing the "Say Hey Kid" for the number 1 HR spot Barry. I'll be watching but I may not be reporting. It's almost time for some football.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Home Run #713 for Barry Bonds - Hum Baby!

On Sunday, May 7th, Barry inched closer to passing Babe Ruth, and it appears that the nation is watching. I'm out of town and only know that the blast, a 450 footer, was against the Phillies. ESPN was cutting to Barry on his every at bat. I'm homesick for SBC/AT&T Park. I should be there.

Say what you want about Barry and Balco, it's still exciting to watch him close in on the number two all-time career home run spot. Barry is making this baseball season a "walk to remember." Hopefully, Barry can hit two home runs in this home stand to reach number two on the all-time list. That is if they continue to pitch to him.

Keep Swinging Barry!

Friday, May 05, 2006

A New and Hopefully Improved #24

First Round Pick Michael Huff practicing at safety for the first time in Silver and Black.

I know some of you fans will want to keep sporting those #24 Woodson Jerseys, that's all good. But remember this, though you may attach names to some great Raiders memories, you're loyalty lies with your colors. Stay true to our colors and find a way to support the new #24. His on-field play may just have you shopping for a new jersey by mid-season.

Addiction Is What Addiction Does

So when is an addiction not a problem? Well, according to former NBA basketball player Charles Barkley it's when you can afford to indulge in the addiction. Charles loves to gamble. And depending on when you ask him he might admit to his gambling as a problem or deny it as a problem. He agrees though that he spends too much money gambling. But he feels that as long as he has the money to do it there's no problem.

I've always respected Charles for his upfront, keeping-it-real, attitude whenever being asked a question or even commenting on an issue. But on this here gambling issue Charles looks like someone with a problem who's so in denial that he justifies continuing with it by not using as much money to do it. Sounds a bit confusing and distorted doesn't it? Well that's just how all addicts sound when they don't want to give up the addiction. That's why it's called ADDICTION. Not only are you physically addicted to the product, but at some point in your addiction your mind joins in with the conspiracy to keep the physical addiction going. And when that happens you'll pretty much say whatever your mind and body have convinced you to believe.

See, in order for the mouth to convincingly lie about something, the activities of the body and mind must not go against each other on the issue. In other words, a convincing lie must have collusion between the mind that thinks the lie and the body that lives it. If they're not in agreement then the mouth will sure tell it. Scientists have studied this phenomona for years and have developed tests to help identify persons speaking untruths. But in the case of Charles, I don't think we need any scientific tests to tell us what we already know. Charles, you are a Gambling Addict. Seek Help or at least inform that mouth of yours to shut up and get in line with the program.

Other forms of addiction: Drugs, Sex, Alcohol, Smoking, Stealing, Lying.

Visiting Father

Well, I won't be in town to celebrate Barry Bonds moving into the number two spot for all-time career home runs. I'm going to visit my Dad and spend some good quality time with the old man. He's 71 years old battling many medical issues, but he's still healthy enough to get around and enjoy a pain free day. He's looking forward to our time together and so am I.

I find myself relating to and actually becoming my father as I get older. The man who I thought was a monster and would some day kill me is now the most humble and loving human on the planet. Losing his wife, my mother, of 49 years just two years ago changed his life overnight. After losing her he's gone from not being sure if he wanted to live without her to wanting to live out his life as long as the Lord allows him. He enjoys the great-grand kids more than he enjoyed us kids of his growing up. He's become a strong believer in the Lord and is secure in knowing that it is God's Will that gives and takes away from this life we live.

I guess there is a season for everything and time can bring about the most miraculous changes in life. I only wish that my mother could have been here to see how much the man she loved all those years has grown. I'm sure she's smiling down on all of us and taking some of the credit for our happy family. She should, because if it weren't for her strong faith in us all we may never have tolerated each other for so long.

Yeah, family can be so stressful to us at times, but that's only because nobody else loves you so unconditionally. So it's off to see Dad and remenisce about the old times and maybe create a few new memories.

My heart and prayers go out to Tiger Woods and his family for the loss of his father Earl Woods. There's been nothing but great things said about Tiger and his father's relationship. I would like to think that someone someday will be able to say a good thing or two about me and my father's relationship. If your dad is living and you haven't told him how much he means to you lately, do it. Because some day the things you say, think and do will remind you of your father, that is if you're not as stubborn-headed as he was. Thanks Dad.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

SF Chronicle Conspiracy

Up to this point in the Barry Bonds controversy I've given the San Francisco Chronicle the benefit of the doubt as part of the problem. They are just another part of the media frenzy that feeds on sensationalized news stories to sell newspapers. Remember, "Greed is Good" in business and newspapers will do just about anything to get more readers.

That being said, I pick up the San Francisco Chronicle this morning and see the headline story with a big picture of a man who somewhat resembles Barry Bonds in his head shape. Actually they look nothing alike but the picure in the paper is cropped enough to give the illusion. The heading reads "Moussaoui Taunts The U.S., Zacarias Moussaoui being the al Qaeda conspirator sentenced to life in prison for his role in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Below this full page headline in dead center is the heading "Records may fall but the Babe endures. The picture that accompanies this story is of Barry Bonds laid out on his back being attended to after getting hit in the forehead by a batting practice foul ball. On further review I discover the heading about the Babe is not a cheap shot at Barry falling down with injury as in "Records may fall," but a front page feel good story about Babe Ruth's greatness and larger than life persona.

There is no mention of concern for Barry's health. When you flip to the bottom of the front page there's a huge picture of Babe Ruth swinging a "hearty swing at a pitch in New York's Yankee Stadium on June 18, 1929. Slightly above this is the heading, or more like the underlying comment of "Bond's pregame scare," accompanied by the following:

Giants trainers attend to Barry Bonds after the heavy hitter fell to the ground hit in the head by a foul ball while watching batting practice before Wednesday's game with the Brewers in Milwaukee. See story, Page D1.

When I turn to page D1 there's a picture of Barry sitting up but still on the ground while trainers continue checking on him. The heading? "Was Curse of the Bambino at play?" Whatever happened to questions about the effects the injury may have had on Barry's game play? Instead, the article starts out by suggesting maybe the Red Sox curse has found a home in San Francisco. The remainder of the article is rather good, with a touching part about Barry giving a 9-year-old boy an autograph and talking with him one on one. Mind you the larger article about Babe Ruth, which continued on page A7 painted a much warmer picture of the Babe than this article did of Bonds. But it's those darn headings that make me feel like maybe, just maybe, the SF Chronicle has become very anti-Bonds. Let any other star of a team get knocked down for seven minutes by a hit in the head and their hometown newspaper would have x-ray charts and doctor's opinions all over the front page. Is the chronicle conspiring against Barry Bonds for whatever reason? Just read the headlines.

As for the al Qaeda terrorist look-alike, that may fall into the "who shot JFk" realm. You tell me, two hated dark skin men who have similar head shapes, and then a larger than life white hero after a hearty swing at bat with a blissful smile. Remember "Greed is Good" and they'll do whatever it takes to get people to buy and read their newspaper. I sure hope Barry is okay. We're in third place in our division and don't even want to think about curses this season. Besides, three more Home Runs and then in place of the Babe Ruth stories we may see Hank Aaron stories. I doubt it though. Hank Aaron is Black.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Barry Bonds Acknowledges Fans After Hitting HR No.712

In yet another losing effort for the Giants, Barry Bonds hit his 712th Home Run. It was a towering 440 foot shot, proving that a legendary 41 year old with an elbow full of bone chips can still hit a fastball.

Here's what was said on the Giants website,


Then came the seventh, when, with Scott Linebrink pitching, Bonds crushed a 96-mph fastball to dead-center to finish off the Giants' scoring.

"Not very many people can hit that ball, especially 900 feet," said Williams, who was a mere spectator by the time Bonds hit his blast. "That ball's chest high -- he's that good."

"In the last at-bat, a 41-year-old guy playing a day game after a night game -- that was an awesome pitch," Alou said. "Nobody else had a swing like that off that fastball."

There weren't too many swings like that off Williams, either.

The Giants collected just five hits and one walk off the Padres starter, who didn't appear overly dominant in his 5 2/3 innings.

An Unbelievable Story

4 year old boy runs 40 miles in record time. This story out of India caught my attention. Think of any 4 year old you know or have known, heck think of your own lazy teenage kids here in the wealthiest nation on earth. Now consider what they'd say if you asked them to run 40 miles to prove their youthful stamina or help the family financial crisis. They'd either ask you to share whatever it is your smoking or report you for child abuse. But in India, where children can still be sold to neighboring villages, ask a child to do something and you may find yourself amazed by how well he carries out your request.

And to think that this 4 year old's special skill was discovered by an attempt at punishing him. Click Here to read this incredible story.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Raiders Draft Defense and Speed

In the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft the Oakland Raiders select safety Michael Huff out of University of Texas.

Well, we didn't get Texas QB Vince Young, but we did get a NCAA Champion player from Texas by drafting Michael Huff. Huff has played safety and cornerback and has the experience to make an immediate impact on defense. He's fast and a smart football player.

One of our other draft picks looked real impressive when I saw his NFL combine clip on Comcast On-Demand. He's a relentless defender with speed and good coverage skills. When I heard them liken him to Troy Polomolau of the Steelers, I really began paying attention. Who is this second round pick the Raiders nabbed you may ask? That would be Thomas Howard OLB out of UTEP. He's 6'3", 240lbs and fast.

I'm proud of the Raiders for not getting duped into picking QB Matt Leinart. Some say the Raiders were having flashbacks of Todd Marinovich, first round pick also out of USC that was a bust for the then L.A. Raiders back in 1991. If that be the case then I commend the Raiders organization for remembering past mistakes and learning from them. As they say, first time shame on you, second time shame on me.

And of course the Raiders ended up with the final pick of the draft. Mr. Irrelevant, as the pick is called, turned out to be WR Kevin McMahan out of Maine. The word Art Shell used to describe the film they've seen on our Mr. Irrelevant is "Exciting." We'll see about that.

Congratulations Oakland Raiders Organization for putting the needs of the team ahead of the urge to star search for ticket sales. We need defensive players and offensive line help. We got them both. As for our quarterback position, I can't wait to see Andrew Walters at the helm. I believe he's the suprise weapon for this coming season. Having Walters is like having a second first-round choice in the draft. He looked good in last years exhibition games and he's had some time to watch the pro game from the sideline. If we can get the running game going and some reliable pass protection, Walters could be the man come September.

I'm not sure why we kept Marques Tuiasosopo. I guess we need somebody at QB who's held the clipboard for more than a year. Actually, Tui could have a breakout year also. He usually does good during exhibition season, although last year might have been his worst showing. Us fans like to think of Tui as a George Blanda type Raider. We cheer for him when he comes into a game and we feel his pain when things go bad. When things do go bad for Tui we usually blame the coach's play calling or protection breakdown. One thing about Tui is that he never gives up, always trying to make something happen. To be honest, I'm glad Tui is still a Raider. I know he bleeds silver and black. Hopefully Aaron Brooks can learn what it means to be a Raiders QB from Tui (take the hit aaron), and Tui can learn what it takes to be a starting QB from Brooks. To say the least our quarterback situation is a bit unsettling and suspect, just a bit. But like an alleged perpetrator of a crime in the U.S., As of now they're innocent until proven guilty.

Results from the Oakland Raiders 2006 Draft Selections:

Round Overall Player Pos. School Ht. Wt.
1 7 Michael Huff S Texas 6'0" 205
2 38 Thomas Howard OLB UTEP 6'3" 240
3 69 Paul McQuistan OG Weber State 6'6" 315
4 101 Darnell Bing SS USC 6'2" 228
6 176 Kevin Boothe OL Cornell 6'5" 315
7 214 Chris Morris C Michigan State 6'4" 305
7 255 Kevin McMahan WR Maine 6'2" 196