One season ends, another begins

I remember once hearing the late Vin Scully describe the scene in Brooklyn following their win in the 1955 World Series. Something akin to Mardi Gras, New Year’s Eve, and the Fourth of July. That was Brooklyn.
In the rest of New York… it was fall.
Today in New York, and all points east…

it is fall.

LCS not going as I’d planned

On today’s episode of Math and Musings you’ll hear me discuss baseball’s LCS. It was recorded a couple days ago, that heady time in which the AL series was still nothing-nothing. Studio executives were dreaming of the Yankees being in the World Series again, no doubt bringing more eyeballs to the screen and dollars to their pockets.

Standing in their way, though, are the Houston Astros and their pitching duo of Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez. Verlander and Valdez… that just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Step aside, Spahn and Sain, Koufax and Drysdale, Johnson and Schilling… this is your new postseason pitching tandem.

Series returns to the Bronx for Game 3, where the Yankees will start their own ace, Gerrit Cole. Cole’s a former Astro, famously leading the ‘stros in their 2019 loss to my hometown Nats. Cole was the winner in Game 5, the last game Houston would win in that series.

And the last game he pitched for them before signing a $324 million deal with the Yanks.

Lookin’ for that to pay off tonight.

Thank goodness for villains

At various times over the past decade or so the New York Yankees and Houston Astros have been, for one reason or another, “bad for baseball.” Stealing signs, stealing players… in one way or another, cheating.

Yup, who cares. These are the best teams left, and thank goodness we have them facing off in one of the LCS matchups.

But damn that NL game last night was pretty good too.

I’m going to refrain from calling it the battle of the Washington has-beens, just a couple of overlooked squads whose magic is coming just at the right time.

And that’s the series that’s not as high profile.

Yeah, this is going to be good.

Yankees save baseball again

The collective sigh you heard was baseball and TV executives breathing relief following the New York Yankees’ win over the Cleveland Guardians last night. Their win ensured a Game Five this evening, meaning ka-ching, ka-ching for TBS and MLB.

They’re praying for a Yankee victory tonight too, meaning one team in baseball’s final four is actually marketable.

New book available for pre-order

Let the joyous news be spread,

My movie book can now be read.

More than 20 years ago I started a project: coming up with a movie to watch every day of the calendar year. Obviously Christmas movies should be watched in December and one (or hopefully two) should watch a romantic film on Valentine’s Day, but that still leaves about 358 slots to fill.

I started calling the project The 365 Greatest Movies Ever Made and the Days You Should Watch Them, and the ultimate goal was to publish it as a book.

Twenty years later it’s available for pre-order at Amazon and other fine retailers, and I couldn’t be more pleased to announce it here and on today’s episode of Math and Musings.

My thanks to everyone who was involved in the creation of the book, not the least of whom are the actors, writers, and directors of the past hundred years or so who created the actual content for me to critique. And the best part about being merely an amateur movie critic? Every single movie I review is great, and I think you’ll enjoy hearing about all 365 of them.

And the days you should watch them.

Packard Campus still shrouded in mystery

On Monday I was in the remote town of Culpeper, Virginia, visiting a secret government warehouse and laboratory operated by the Library of Congress.

I’m gonna let that lead breathe for a minute.

Tucked inside Pony Mountain on the outskirts of Culpeper sits the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation, part of the National Audio Visual Conservation Center of the aforementioned Library of Congress. Picture Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. It’s never open, and I’ve never seen any person or Oompa-Loompa walk in or out of there. But this past Monday I had a golden ticket to enter through its massive iron gate and traverse its cavernous halls.

They called it an “open house,” though the metal detectors, security officers, and barricaded sections made it feel a little less open than I would have liked. Still, though, just seeing the mountains of film and audio recording housed in the facility (think the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark) was something to behold. The tour guides described a little of what they did there, but for the most part their work remains shrouded in mystery. They collect, they store, they refurbish, they preserve. And pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

I’d told my son the Willy Wonka line to pique his interest, but honestly the Indiana Jones comparison was more apt. There was no chocolate river, no lickable wallpaper, no giant golden eggs. Just a lot of boxes, presumably with treasures inside. They did open one or two, revealing contents that hadn’t been preserved. Broken records and disintegrated celluloid. A fine dust similar to the contents of the Ark of the Covenant, actually, to use another Raiders reference. I told Franklin not to look.

At the end of the tour there was no fanfare, no prize, no gifted factory, no ride in a Wonkavator. Just the door and a good day, sir.

At least I left on my feet and not to some Oompa-Loompa song.

October is officially here

Big upvote for baseball’s new Wild Card series matchups.

The only trouble is that today, a day when I’m home and ready to watch a game or two under God’s lights I’ve got nothing, daytime or primetime. MLB really needs to take a page from the NCAA’s First Four “Dayton” playbook and keep the games going without a day off.

This is October. I needs my baseball.

MLB playoffs commence!

Today on Math and Musings you’ll be treated to a few offerings on this year’s MLB playoffs. The one thing you won’t hear is me talk about Aaron Judge’s 62 home runs this season.

Yeah, I recorded the playoff episode while Judge was still sitting on 61, so rather than jinx it I decided simply to say nothing.

You’re welcome.

A little story from the last time this happened

The morning after Mark McGwire hit his 62nd home run of 1998 my 11th grade math teacher, Mr. McGowan, said he was thinking of changing his name to McGwire in deference to our new home run king.

That was 24 years ago and I still remember it.

Of all the great teachers I’ve met in life (including those who lived in my house) there’s no one on whom I pattern my act now more than Mr. McGwire. I mean McGowan. The demeanor, the structure of the class, the opening monologue, the bad jokes (usually of the “Dad” variety)… and of course a solid color sweater every day.

Sometimes there’d be stories about baseball that turned into math.

Or vice versa.

But I’m not changing my name, even as a gag.

Although Mr. Judge does sound really cool.

This is fall so far

With rain cancelling most of this past weekend’s activities I’m sadly a bit limited in the rank order of Fall Fabulous events thus far. Here, though, is our current list.

1. McDonald’s pumpkin and creme pie.

(large gap)

2. Hocus Pocus 2

(large gap)

3. Washington Commanders football.