Saturday Play Of The Day

This was the Play Of the Day (POD) for our Saturday on August 13, 2007:

On a play in which he and his teammate were doing crossing routes, Tyler looked to be the guy who was going to draw the coverage. But the ball was thrown as both Tyler and his teammate crossed in the middle of the field and it glanced his teammate, bounced off a defender between them, and then found its way to Tyler but way behind him.

With his momentum carrying him away from the ball, Tyler reached back with his right arm and corralled the ball and brought it into his arms as he turned upfield. He weaved through some additional traffic till he got in the clear, then dashed to the end zone for the score and the Play Of the Day.

Thursday Play Of The Day

This was the Play Of the Day (POD) for our Thursday on August 9, 2007:

The ball was picked off and the defender, avoiding defenders and skillfully using some great blocks,  swiftly criss crossed the field, twice, in his quest for the end zone. But finally, cornered and about to be tagged, he no-look pitched the ball behind his back, over a crowd of three people to Faison, who had to jump for the ball to return possession to his team.

When the play looked dead, Faison kept his head in the game and made a great play on the ball to end a wild change of possessions.

Monty Python’s Spamalot

Photo of a can of Monty Python's Spamalot branded Spam
  Originally uploaded by Katz_42!

I saw ‘s at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts here in Saint Paul last week.

When I was about eight years old, our , then known as KTCA, ran–and reran, many times–the movie . That’s how I was first introduced to British humor in general and Monty Python in particular. I was hooked. I watched the movie several times and hundreds of times since. I can practically recite the movie line for line. That’s how much of a Monty Python geek I am.

So I am a huge Monty Python fan but I was worried that I would fall asleep. Theaters, for a reason I cannot fathom, usually act as a sedative on me and put me to sleep. But only live theater does it. They don’t have that effect on me in movie theaters.

It’s weird. It could be a play that I love and I still just can’t seem to stay awake. Selective narcolepsy, I guess.

Anyway, I’m happy to report that I did not fall asleep during Spamalot.

That might have something to do with the fact that the musical was written by ex-Python, himself. I enjoyed Spamalot a great deal. It featured plenty of dialog taken directly from the movie that was funny for audience members who hadn’t seen or hadn’t seen it many times. Those lines got plenty of laughs, so there were quite a few people who were relatively new to, if not Monty Python, then the movie.

The thing would have been simply interesting to those of us geeks who know the movie in and out if it were just the movie set to stage. Fortunately, there was plenty of original material to keep us Python geeks interested and amused.

The first of the two acts whizzed along, which is nice. The highlight, for me, was the song , which was choreographed as if it were a Super Bowl halftime show, complete with people waving torches like Bic lighters at a concert and "Support Our Troops" signs.

Act II dragged a bit at the beginning.

The first new song of the second half was , which made the audience uncomfortable because, as the actors made clear, the reason they wouldn’t succeed is that they had no Jews. In true Monty Python fashion, it is an over-the-top number that closes with a giant, lighted, flashing Star of David descending from the ceiling. The song is used to set up a Catholic joke later in the show, which got a huge laugh.

said it didn’t feel like Monty Python, and he’s right, it didn’t. But Monty Python is all about making fun of religion–all religions. I mean, The Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life are exactly that.

The reason for the song was because the Knights of the Round Table’s mission became a quest to get on Broadway, which seems to me a dubious and unnecessary choice used simply because it was a Broadway show, but there you have it.

The tie-in products included, as shown above, Spamalot-branded cans of Spam, which is particularly apt because the product is made in Minnesota.

Act II did pick up the pace, thankfully, and the show was over before I knew it. It was very good and I do recommend it.

See also:

Barry B*nds Supplants Hank Aaron As Home Run King

Barry Bonds Ties Hank Aaron With 755th Career Home Run
  Bonds: 755 
  Originally uploaded by MarkDM

The photo above is of hitting the 755th home run, the one that tied for the career home run record. Notice in the upper left hand corner: There is a person taking a photo who is wearing an asterisk shirt. Yesterday, he hit number 756 to take the record and I couldn’t care less.

Barry Bonds, Before & After
  Barry Bonds Before and After 
  Originally uploaded by gokmop

I have nothing against Barry Bonds personally. I don’t hate him or anything. I just think he’s a cheater. Yes, I know, I’m supposed to presume innocence but that’s in a court of law, not the court of public opinion. And except for San Francisco, I think the public has returned the verdict on the overwhelming circumstantial evidence that Bonds took steroids.

I mean, c’mon! Some argue that every era has it’s cheating and this is just another part of that. But a corked bat or spit on the ball (or, if we’re talkin’ , here, an ) is a far cry from artificially improving your body, your power and reflexes, at the expense of your peers who are not taking steroids.

I heard an interview with , the convicted designer of the steroid Bonds is accused of taking, . The steroid is named that because it was specifically designed to be undetectable by steroid tests. Arnold was interviewed on Costas Now and he ridiculed Bonds’ claim that he didn’t know what he was taking. He also said that the steroid does improve reflexes and has the effect of putting athletes "in the zone."

There’s a world of difference between the manipulation of the physical objects within the game and the manipulation of the athlete’s body itself. I think ANYONE caught using steroids should be banned from the game and their records erased.

It is completely unfair to Henry Aaron, (though he’s not complaining), , and the rest of the top non-steroid era sluggers on the . I’d kick out not just Bonds, but and as well. I’m absolutely fine with that.

Historic Significance Of Hank Aaron’s Record

Hank Aaron Home Run King Baseball Card
I owned this card

I’m biased also biased against Barry Bonds, I should disclose. And the reason I’m biased is Hank Aaron. Let me tell you why.

On April 8, 1974, the day that Hammerin’ Hank Aaron broke ‘s career home run mark, I was a ten year old kid living in the suburb of New Brighton, Minnesota. My best friend at that time was a black kid named Arthur.

Art’s family was the only black family I knew of in New Brighton. There were some white neighbors the next block down who had adopted a couple of black children, but Art’s was the only black family probably in New Brighton at the time.

The only time I’d see African Americans back then was if we drove into Minneapolis or occasionally there would be a black kid on a little league team against whom we’d play. Mine was nearly an all white world.

As a ten year old kid, I did not think of race at all. Art was my buddy and that was that. The only time I was forced to think about race was when some kid made a racist slur against Art and it did happen sometimes. It was a dangerous thing to do, I thought, because I was pretty sure Art could have absolutely kick those kids asses.

I knew. I played football against him all the time so I knew how punishing he could be just playing a game. All knees and elbows, Art was. But we’d talk trash back and that was the end of it.

So back to April 8, 1974. Art and I were at his house messing around and Art’s father was in the other room watching a baseball game, the Braves against the Dodgers. Art’s father called him into the room:

"You gotta watch this," he said.

And so we watched Hank Aaron’s at-bat. We watched as Aaron took his majestic swing that sent ‘s ball deep, deep, deep as Dodgers outfielder scaled the wall, hoping to pull it in, only to watch it drop in the Braves bullpen where reliever caught it. We watched as the crowd erupted and Aaron rounded the bases and a couple of college students left their seats to trot alongside him. We watched as the crowd around Aaron grew as he approached home plate where his mother awaited him.

And I watched as Art’s dad pumped his fists in the air and scream and dance with delight. I thought, damn, he must really like Hank Aaron! I knew that Aaron had just broken Babe Ruth’s record and I thought it was cool and all, but I was absolutely oblivious about the significance of the home run as a racial equality event. I didn’t comprehend the extent of what Aaron’s accomplishment meant to Art’s father.

Not until later, of course. I found myself thinking of the experience often when my family moved to Indiana during high school and I saw routine, undisguised, in-your-face racism. I was fortunate enough that my parents raised me to treat everyone as I would like to be treated myself. They didn’t say anything about race, they just said to treat people decently.

Because of that upbringing, I was baffled with racism. I couldn’t comprehend how anyone could hate–hate–someone they had never met and had done nothing to deserve a drop of vitriol. But my experience in Indiana taught me that racism was inherited, that the racist kids that I knew had racist parents.

So I will forever be thankful for having the good fortune to be in Art’s home at that time. The experience prepared me for later life in so many ways. I was able to understand a lot about people as a result.

So, yeah, I’d rather have the person who breaks Aaron’s record earn it. While Hank Aaron will always be my home run king, I can always hope that stays healthy enough to surpass Bonds.

Go A-Rod!

See also:

Saturday Play Of The Day

This was the Play Of the Day (POD) for our Saturday on August 4, 2007:

Three receivers were lined up on the left and one receiver was lined up on the far right. The three receivers on the left did five yard stop routes and the receiver on the right did an eight yard stop route. Seeing the congestion, one of the receivers on the left cut across on a drag route.

But Sam was playing middle linebacker and like a puma on the prowl, he sniffed out something in the breeze. Reading the play perfectly, he pounced as soon as the ball left the quarterback’s hand, cut in front of the receiver coming across the field, snagged the ball out of the air, and trotted in for an easy score.

Thursday Play Of The Day

This was the Play Of the Day (POD) for our Thursday on August 2, 2007:

It was a case where the receiver knew exactly what his quarterback was thinking. On the first play from scrimmage Marcus, lined up near the far right sideline, took off like a flash at the snap. After waiting a few seconds Andre tossed a long spiral downfield. Marcus tracked the ball perfectly over his shoulder and arms stretched out, took the ball in softly without breaking stride for a one play touchdown drive.

The play was over before you knew it but it was a thing of beauty to behold. And for that, Marcus gets Play of the Day.

Minneapolis 35W Bridge Collapse News & Links

Updated: 1:40 A.M. CST.

Seven fatalities have been confirmed, 20 missing, 60 injured but those numbers are
expected to rise. Operations at the collapse site have been suspended
for the night but will resume in the morning. Traffic rerouting for
tomorrow is being planned and will be posted on the Minneapolis web site.

The 35W highway bridge over the Mississippi river collapsed today at 6:09 p.m., sending rush hour traffic plunging into the river. MNDoT reports only surface repairs conducted on the bridge at the time. The portion of the bridge was near the Metrodome.

Governor Tim Pawlenty says federal support is in place. Plans being constructed by Met Council to deal with traffic issues in the aftermath of the collapse. Highway 280 will be transformed into a freeway with no traffic lights.

Bridge was inspected in 2005 & 2006.

Homeland Security has announced they do not believe this disaster is due to terrorism.

HCMC PATIENT INFORMATION LINE: 612-873-3131. People wondering about loved ones should go to the Holiday Inn Metrodome, 7 Corners ballroom, KARE TV reports.

Find out how to help at DONATION HOTLINE: 621-460-3700.

People are urged not to use cell phones unless absolutely necessary.

Elwyn Tinklenberg, Transportation Commissioner under Governor Ventura, said on KARE TV tonight that the failure to raise the gas tax in particular, and the reduced budgets for transportation are largely to blame for the bridge’s collapse.

I’ve been saying for a while that Minnesota’s infrastructure is crumbling; tragically, that has literally happened.

The follow are links to the news sources covering the disaster:

Touch Football

I play touch football every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at . It’s located across the street from the Home Depot at The Quarry and right next door to the Jim Lupient Water Park.

Anyone is welcome to join us. It’s competitive but friendly and informal. We play all year ’round, 52 weeks a year, rain, snow, or shine. Just show up if you want to play.

We have an email reminder list and every week we choose the coveted Play of the Day, which I post here .

This map lists all the locations I know of where you can play touch football in the Twin Cities, either in an organized league such as , or just pickup games. If you know of a location that is not on the map, email me the details (exact address is preferable) and I’ll add it to the map.