Kids from one to ninety-two

The timeless and incomparable (insert other clichés here) Tony Bennett turned 92 years old this past Friday. He gave us the present, dropping another musical gem upon us like a gift from the gods. Just another day at the office for the man who’s done it so brilliantly for longer than most of us have been on this planet.

Tony’s 2018 rendition of “Fascinating Rhythm” is but a single track from his forthcoming album with Diana Krall. Joined again by the Bill Charlap Trio, Tony sounds better than ever. And I’ve been saying that my whole life. Pardon the expression, but he doesn’t even need Diana, musically, saleswise, or otherwise.

There’s a reason Frank Sinatra once called him “the best in the business.”

Because he is.

This is offensive

Tuesday night my hometown Washington Nationals scored a franchise record 25 runs in their rout of the New York Mets. You can read about it here or just scroll down a little.

Last night the Nats put up only 10 against the Reds, supporting the guy who needs no support, Max Scherzer.

Big offensive numbers are an anomaly these days, right? Hitting is way down and pitching is dominant? Everyone out there is Max Scherzer?

Consider that last night not only did the Nats score 10 runs, but the Red Sox scored 15 (against the Yankees no less). The Rangers put up 17 against the Orioles, and in L.A. the Dodgers scored 21 against the Milwaukee Brewers. (Not exactly Milwaukee’s best.)

Yup, no offense in today’s game.

Thanks can go here

Touchdown, field goal, field goal, field goal, field goal. Those were the Nationals’ first five innings yesterday. Add a sixer in their last ups and you’ve got 25 runs, and a 25-4 thrashing of the New York Mets.

You might recall my chastising the Nats last Wednesday for their poor play. Goaded them into this one and I’m takin’ credit for it!

“Summer” is flying by

I used to think of the end of July as sort of the midway point of summer. You still had a whole month (and a little more) of summer left. Now, with school starting in early August (and back-to-school sales starting at the end of June) the midway point actually happened a long time ago.

Whoops.

Gotta get a month’s worth of summer vacation in this week…

This is too long to post on Twitter

This post has been coming for two or three years now. It’s sensitive, yes, but not time sensitive, and really could appear today or any day in the Trump era. Today just happens to be the day.

Much of the controversy surrounding our current president is his use of a particular social media platform. That would be Twitter, which is, depending on your opinion, the greatest or most useless application ever created.

It is on the subject of opinions that we address Mr. Trump’s use of Twitter.

Twitter, like most social media and indeed most things in life, allows us to see what we want to see. I suppose this has always been true; in the early days of this country there were “party” newspapers and one could read the news though political lenses of particular partisan slants. This is all the more true in the social media era. One literally chooses to “follow” certain newscasters and news organizations. The days of “the news” or “the newspaper” are over. But we’ve discussed that many times.

What Trump has done, by his use of Twitter, is no different from what other presidents have done using the “new” media of their day. I think the three greatest examples of this are arguably the three most popular presidents of the last century. In the 1930s it was Franklin Roosevelt who brought us his “fireside chats” via the new medium of radio. A generation later it was John F. Kennedy who looked so cool and confident on TV that it may have swung a close election his way. And it was Ronald Reagan, 20 years later, who used TV to its greatest potential, bringing his version of the fireside chat to the homes of his constituents in the 1980s.

TV and radio were game-changing technology. So too the Internet. To me the true forerunners of using the Internet in politics were two gentlemen who had no business on the national scene, but used said technology to catapult them into the light. The first was Ross Perot, at the end of the last century, and the next was Howard Dean, at the beginning of this one. Two longshot presidential hopefuls really showed the rest of us how to use the Internet, first to raise money and then to get messages out, over the heads of the traditional media and to the American public directly. This is what you do if you don’t have the party apparatus or the media behind you: you find another way. That’s Trump on Twitter in a nutshell. He doesn’t need “the media” or the Republican establishment to get his thoughts directly to you. Like his tweets or not (and I’ll admit, many I find wrongheaded), he’s communicating directly with the American public.

If you liked Trump, you’d think it was brilliant.

That’s the bottom line, really. How you feel about the messenger is how you’ll feel about the message. If it were a politician you liked (Obama, Hillary, or any president or presidential hopeful past), and he or she was using Twitter the way Trump uses Twitter, you’d think it was brilliant. Remember, we see what we want to see in the Internet, and in the media, and this is becoming more and more true as the Internet and social media break down traditional news, information, and entertainment gatekeepers.

Reason number 1,784,259 why it’s more fun to be a scientist than a partisan.

Was the All-Star Game only last week?

Losers of three out of four, my hometown Nationals have lost that All-Star Break glow surrounding the franchise only last week. Now two games below .500 and seven back of the Braves, at least they’re saving Papa John’s some money on those day-after-wins pizza giveaways.

Lord knows that company could use it.

Shark Week!

It’s here. This is the summer event we’re really waiting for…

Shark Week!

Older than Twitter, older than Facebook, older than most people I know, Shark Week still dominates summer TV schedules three decades in.

Thank God I’ve spent most of my adult life working with 10-year-olds who are able to keep me apprised of such things.

Should have seen this coming

First, read this post.

Turns out God isn’t getting five more minutes.

He’s getting three years with the voice of Brent Musburger… as the voice of the Oakland (soon to be Vegas) Raiders.

Yeah, seriously. I think I just became a Raiders fan.

Actually, no. I’m going to root for them… until they play in the Super Bowl their first year in Vegas.

And lose to the Redskins.

All-Star festivities do not disappoint

Baseball’s All-Star game is now a week-long celebration, and this week that celebration came to my hometown (sort of), Washington, D.C. It was the first time our nation’s capital hosted the midsummer classic in 49 years.

They’ll get another chance sooner than that.

First, Monday evening… the Home Run Derby, so much cooler since the clock and bracket format were introduced (sacrilege in a way but ultimately not). This event, literally, was years in the making. Ever since we knew this game would be in D.C. we awaited a certain Mr. Harper’s participation. He participated and then some. His moment was reminiscent of Derek Jeter’s final Yankee Stadium at bat, a comparison I do not use lightly (like comparing a president to Lincoln or a playwright to Shakespeare). Harper’s final minute of regulation, during which he (and his dad!) prevailed against long odds to claim the derby crown, was the greatest moment in Washington sports since, well, the Caps a month ago, but a hell of a long time before that one.

Then there was the game.

Well, that one could have gone better from a National League fan perspective. Yes, first time in my life rooting for the NL in the All-Star game. A game with 10 home runs should be pretty fun to watch. It was. And it gave credence to those who say the game is now only strikeouts and home runs. (There were 25 of the former, by the way.) Pitching, fundamentals, and three-run home runs, right? Well, then AL had its three-run homer. A two-run game-tying blast in the bottom of the ninth from Scooter Gennett just wasn’t enough. Exciting, but not enough.

Still, a great game. And a great moment. And seriously… Harper Monday night… that was magic.

Gonna be the greatest moment at Nats Park until they roll out the World Series bunting.

MLB All-Star Game is here

I’ve been asked many times this year whether having the MLB All-Star game in my “hometown” makes it any cooler or more interesting compared to other years.

Nope. I’m just gonna watch it on TV whether it’s 20 miles or 2,000 miles from my house. If my son were a little older maybe, but he’s not so it doesn’t matter. That he’s four and would rather play with sticks and dirt in the backyard than with some new age gizmos at “fan fest” probably saved me a few hundred dollars.

I will watch, with interest, tonight’s Home Run Derby, and of course the game tomorrow. I’ll have my son watch some of it too.

We don’t need to see it in person, but we do like the game.

After all, we are not Communists.