Blue Man Group

Blue Man Group

BlueManGroupHow To Be a Megastar 2.0 Tour.  The Blue Man Group.  Where to begin talking about this concert.  Well, more than a concert…an experience.

Angie and I decided to have an “appetizer-dinner” at one of our favorite restaurants in Columbia, Old Chicago, which, incidentally is where this odd group is originally from (the city, not the restaurant).  Once we got to “The ‘Zou” we were greeted by the music and video of Mike Relm, the opening act.  We didn’t have the best seats in the house, but once the Blue Men started their show, we felt like we were in the thick of a great rock concert.

The show was much more than that, though.  It was music with inventive percussion instruments and a full backup band.  It was comedy with audience participation.  It was special effects with crazy lighting and luminescent clothing.  It was gross, with half-eaten food being used as an art medium.  It was art with paint flying and splattering.

All of these elements added up to a slightly off-kilter look at the phenomenon of fame and rock stardom.  Angie and I really enjoyed it on every level.

Meet Graviton!

Meet Graviton!

If you will indulge me for just a moment, I’ve created a superhero in the time between family visits this holiday season.

Graviton is the superhero persona of Dr. Mortimer Albee, an astronomer who was studying a previously unknown gravitational phenomenon five times the intensity of a black hole.  During his night of observations, he noticed something very peculiar.  The phenomenon was highly directional, and, in fact, was traveling right at him!  The effects were focused by the telescope he was using, and his entire body was exposed to the intense gravity phenomenon.

After being realigned on the subatomic level, Dr. Albee found he could “bend” gravity to push objects, regardless of their mass.  What he could push, he found he could pull, too.  In fact, he could even bend light around him to become invisible!

Corn maze

Corn maze

When I was in elementary school, I used to draw mazes for fun. I would fill up full-sized pieces of art construction paper in a couple of hours time with a maze that had only one solution. a large piece of art construction paper in a few hours time with a maze that only had one solution. They fascinated me, and they still do.

I read somewhere there are 6 different kinds of mazes varying in construction from simple single-path labyrinths to multidimensional mazes that are constructed on exotic surfaces (ie., Mobius strip). But for pure enjoyment value, I have to say your best bet is a maze constructed on an agricultural surface (i.e., corn).

I took Angie to our first corn maze as a birthday surprise back when we were still dating. Something about teaming up, roaming from checkpoint to checkpoint, and punching our cards as we found them really excited us. Here we were, putting our heads together and solving a problem.  We were a real team!

Since then, the corn maze has become an annual pilgrimage for us. Now that we’re husband and wife, the idea of putting our heads together and solving problems isn’t so novel, but the corn maze keeps calling us back, a ton of fun and the last big outdoor event each fall.

Hello, True Believers!

Hello, True Believers!

Reality shows.  Ever since “Survivor” became so popular, I’ve been stuck wondering what people see in them.  I can honestly say I’ve watched only two or three “Survivor” episodes since they came out; all of those viewings were under duress. To me, these shows glamorize the very worst in people. The winning contestants make the grade by manipulating others, forming cliques or “alliances,” dividing others by casting doubt and deception, and victimizing those in the “out” group.

If it is true that there is an exception to every rule, I just watched the final episode of such an exception. “Who Wants To Be A Superhero” was in many ways, an “anti”-reality show. Entertaining enough that both my wife and I were hooked, it was filled with good-natured fun, positive messages, and delightful twists that kept us laughing out loud.

Contestants competed to become the next great comic book superhero, immortalized by Stan Lee (creator of Spider-Man, X-Men, and many more comic book heroes) in their own comic book. They dressed and lived AS the superhero they created. How they competed was what really drew me to the show. Lee told the superheroes right off that he knew he couldn’t judge them on how high they could leap, how fast they could fly, or if they could stop a speeding train. He made it clear that he was going to test them on virtuous character traits that a true superhero would possess on the inside.   (more…)

Winter baseball

Winter baseball

There are three things the average man thinks he can do better than anyone else: build a fire, run a hotel, and manage a baseball team. -Rocky Bridges
My love of baseball started, as many things do, in childhood. I remember on many occasions bringing a mattress downstairs to the living room (the only air conditioned room in the house except for my parents’ bedroom), brushing my teeth, getting ready for “bed”, then begging for the television to stay on a little longer so I could watch the ending of the Royals game. It was a treat in those “pre-cable television” days. One time, I recall my dad taking a group of boys (a scouting event, I think) to Royals stadium. As I was sitting down with the other boys, I looked back and saw my dad two rows back. I went over to sit and watch the game with him. After all, he looked so lonely chaperoning the event, and if it hadn’t been for my dad knocking high fly balls for me to track down, I never would have earned that particular merit badge. It was the best game I ever went to.
About a year and a half ago, I discovered something called a “sim league.” I was looking for a new computer game after finding out that my favorite one, High Heat, was out of business. What I ended up discovering was a group of close to thirty people spread across the country who used High Heat as a basis for simulating games and seasons, with themselves acting as owners and general managers. It looked like a steep commitment; rosters due every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; off-season rookie drafts, free agent protection lists and signings. I studied over the rules, emailed back and forth with the fellow in the league who posted the openings (who also happened to be the commissioner), and decided I could at least give it a two seasons.
Of the two or three teams open, one caught my eye. It was the very worst franchise; it had the losingest record in the history of the league. The team actually went 36-126 one season! It had NEVER had a winning season. It had never even had a .500 season in its 15 seasons of existence. In other words, the franchise had my name written all over it. I signed up and renamed the team. I took complete reigns of the Manatees at the start of the 2016 season.
I’ve put together a team page with all of my managerial details that you can reference by clicking here: Brevard County Manatees.
For the weblog, though, I won’t leave you hanging. A year and a half of being constantly humbled by the skill of some very talented general managers, I’ve been able to eek out a record of 876-744 (.541). The culmination of my work came a few days ago when I qualified for my fifth Rockies League West Pennant and managed to go from there all of the way to winning the League Championship Series!
Some would say it’s just a game, just as watching the Royals play is, but for a little while, my winter transformed into a hot summer on the baseball diamond; exploding into blinding postseason color, imprinting vivid memories that will carry me through the wintertime gloom until spring.

There are three things the average man thinks he can do better than anyone else: build a fire, run a hotel, and manage a baseball team. -Rocky Bridges

My love of baseball started, as many things do, in childhood. I remember on many occasions bringing a mattress downstairs to the living room (the only air-conditioned room in the house except for my parents’ bedroom), brushing my teeth, getting ready for “bed”, then begging for the television to stay on a little longer so I could watch the ending of the Royals game. It was a treat in those “pre-cable television” days. One time, I recall my dad taking a group of boys (a scouting event, I think) to Royals stadium. As I was sitting down with the other boys, I looked back and saw my dad two rows back. I went over to sit and watch the game with him. After all, he looked so lonely chaperoning the event, and if it hadn’t been for my dad knocking high fly balls for me to track down, I never would have earned that particular merit badge. It was the best game I ever went to.

About a year and a half ago, I discovered something called a “sim league.” I was looking for a new computer game after finding out that my favorite one, High Heat, was out of business. What I ended up discovering was a group of close to thirty people spread across the country who used High Heat as a basis for simulating games and seasons, with themselves acting as owners and general managers. It looked like a steep commitment; rosters due every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; off-season rookie drafts, free agent protection lists and signings. I studied over the rules, emailed back and forth with the fellow in the league who posted the openings (who also happened to be the commissioner), and decided I could at least give it two seasons. (more…)