Book 9 (of 52) – The Book Of Fours

The Book Of Fours – Nancy Holder

When tidal waves and burning forests bring mayhem to the streets of Sunnydale at the same time vicious attackers appear with mystical axes, the Scooby gang knows that something is up. While Buffy and Faith try to keep the town, and each other, safe, a woman named Cecile Lafitte has put plans in motion to bring forth the Gatherer, who wants to kill both slayers and bring destruction to all of Earth.  To defeat the Gatherer, the two slayers must look for help from their immediate predecessors, along with Willow and Cordelia, to stop Cecile before he can come forth.

It’s been nearly 3 years since I travelled back to Sunnydale to visit our old friends from Buffy The Vampire SlayerThe Book of Fours, from prolific Buffy writer Nancy Holder, brings us a tale of multiple slayers, many of whom have been sacrificed to the same evil.  What I thought would be an easy read turned into a bit of a disappointment.  There were a few unnecessary plot threads that looked like they were going somewhere, only to be abandoned for the remainder of the book and resolved in passing in the epilogue.  Was this the fault of Holder or is what they say about not being able to go home again true?  Who knows?

 

Fitbit VII – Week 5

A big drop down in steps from last week, despite the temperature finally starting to break in a good way.  Things got off to a decent-enough start on Sunday, falling 1 step shy of 4300.  Monday was almost the same, coming in just 4 steps short of 4200.  Tuesday fell off a cliff, as a busy day of meetings left me with only 2400 steps.  Wednesday bounced back a bit, going all the way back up to 3800 steps.  Thursday was another busy meeting day, coming in with the low total of the week with only 2200 steps.  Friday saw another improvement, going up to 3700 steps.  Saturday saw the best weather of 2021 so far, and an afternoon walk helped to propel me to the week’s best day, with more than 6100 steps.

Total steps: 26,852

Daily average: 3836

Spending Time In The Mitten

For March, we turn our gaze to the north and east towards the state of Michigan.  Every picture comes from a skating event of some sort, split between the 2016 US Synchronized Skating Championships in Kalamazoo and the 2019 Porter Classic in Ann Arbor.  The first row has a picture of Angelina skating at each event.  The second row has Danny and Michael, in the stands at the first event and with Angelina following the second.  Finally, the last row shows Angelina getting the results with the rest of her team.

By The Numbers – 65

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #65.  8 players have donned #65 while playing in Chicago, 7 for the White Sox and 1 for the Cubs.

Kelly Wunsch donned #65 for his entire White Sox career, starting on Opening Day against the Rangers for the eventual 2000 AL Central champions.  Finishing 5th in AL Rookie of the Year voting, Wunsch appeared in all 3 games of the ALDS against the Mariners, giving up 2 hits and 1 unearned run in one inning pitched.  Injuries marred the rest of his White Sox tenure, with rotator cuff surgery in 2001, continued shoulder soreness in 2002, and a back injury in 2003.  After starting the 2004 season on the disabled list, he ended up spending most of the season in Triple A, appearing in only 3 games for the White Sox, and he became a free agent at year’s end.

Casey Sadler is the only #65 in Cubs history, appearing in 10 games early in the 2020 season with a 5.79 before being claimed by the Mariners off of waivers.

Book 8 (of 52) – Stealing Home

Stealing Home: Los Angeles, the Dodgers, and the Lives Caught in Between – Eric Nusbaum

The story, as I had heard it, was that Walter O’Malley, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, was looking to replace Ebbets Field and, after running into resistance from city officials on acquiring the land he needed, he turned his sights west, landing in Chavez Ravine and displacing Mexican immigrants who had called that area home.  In Stealing Home, Eric Nusbaum tells the story which is somewhat more nuanced than that.

Nusbaum weaves three tales, one of the Aréchigas family, one of Frank Wilkinson, and one of the Dodgers, which coalesce in the hills of what is now referred to as Chavez Ravine, but at the time was the neighborhoods of Palo Verde, La Loma and Bishop.  The Aréchigas put down roots in Palo Verde after emigrating from Mexico by way of Arizona, raising multiple generations in their humble abode.  Frank Wilkinson, meanwhile, had a vision for public housing that needed a place to build, and the neighborhoods of  Palo Verde, La Loma and Bishop were the unlucky winners.  As eminent domain notices went out to the affected families, including the Aréchigas, plans for the housing project hit a snag when Wilkinson was outed as a communist.  You would think this would have put a stop to the evictions, but no.

Following protracted negotiations, the city council convinced Walter O’Malley to uproot the Dodgers and move to Los Angeles and they purchased the Chavez Ravine property back from the Federal Housing Authority, with the stipulation that the land be used for a public purpose.  In June of 1958, 2 months after the Dodgers began their first season in LA, voters approved a “Taxpayers Committee for Yes on Baseball” referendum, which enabled O’Malley to acquire 352 acres of Chavez Ravine from the city in exchange for Wrigley Field (the Los Angeles version). After additional legal challenges, including the eventual removal of the Aréchigas, ground was broken on Dodger Stadium in September of 1959, and it opened for business on April 10, 1962.   The abandoned Palo Verde elementary school, which taught multiple generations of Aréchigas children, was simply buried and sits beneath the parking lot northwest of third base.

At the end of the day, multiple sources converged to remove the Mexican families from their homes in order to ultimately build a baseball stadium.  While the Dodgers have taken the majority of the blame over the years, had the original housing project either gone through to completion or never started in the first place, the land would not have been available for them to swoop in and overtake.  Had Walter O’Malley thrown a little extra money at the problem, it may have soothed a lot of hurt feelings.  This was an important story that I’m glad was finally told, filling in many of the holes of the popular myth.

Fitbit VII – Week 4

A nice increase from last week, in steps if not in temperature, as winter continued showing its ugly side for the second straight week.  Things got off to a decent-enough start on Sunday, as I managed 4100 steps.  Monday saw an increase, thanks to yet another round of snow, which put me up to 6300 steps.  Tuesday saw even more snow, which boosted me back up a bit more, with over 6600 steps.  Wednesday saw the snow taper of, so the lack of snowblowing saw my steps taper off as well, falling 19 steps shy of 4000.  Thursday saw a further decrease, falling to 3700 steps.  Friday, despite being a day off of work, was the low point of the week, with only 3400 steps as I spent a couple of hours in the Tesla waiting room.  Saturday bounced back up a bit, coming in with 3600 steps.

Total steps: 31,947

Daily average: 4563.9

All Time Batting Leaders – Through 2020

Last week, we took our annual look at the all time leaders in pitching stats for the 949 games I’ve attended (and identified) between 1984 and 2020. With the full White Sox roster reporting to camp yesterday despite the ongoing pandemic and full workouts beginning today, it’s time to move over to the other side of the ball and take a look at the offensive stat leaders for those games, starting with our first category:

Home Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 93
Sammy Sosa 42
Aramis Ramirez 41
Derrek Lee 40
Jermaine Dye 40

Hits

Name Total
Paul Konerko 366
Alexei Ramirez 300
Derrek Lee 255
AJ Pierzynski 239
Aramis Ramirez 234

Runs

Name Total
Paul Konerko 200
Derrek Lee 140
Alexei Ramirez 134
Aramis Ramirez 120
A.J. Pierzynski 106

RBI

Name Total
Paul Konerko 235
Aramis Ramirez 158
Alexei Ramirez 140
Derrek Lee 134
Jermaine Dye 108

Doubles Continue reading →

iTunes Top 200 Artists: #140-148

It’s been 4 years since we last counted down the Top 200 artists in my iTunes library.  Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at the artists that have entertained me the most based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2021.

We are a quarter of the way through the countdown and continue today with our next batch of 10 artists, the remaining 3 tied for 148th place, the single artist in 147th, the 4 tied for 143rd, and the first 2 holding down the 140th spot.  For the first time, we have no newcomers making their debut this week.

#148: The Dandy Warhols
iTunes stats: 57 plays
Previous ranking: #105

A big 43 spot drop, thanks to only 14 new listens, for the band responsible for the original Veronica Mars theme song.

#148: Lisa Loeb
iTunes stats: 57 plays
Previous ranking: #185

The first artist to ever hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 without a recording contract, Loeb adds a track and 32 new listens to power her 37 slot jump.

#148: The Doors
iTunes stats: 57 plays
Previous ranking: #164

A 29 play increase for the 3 tracks in my collection from the seminal LA rock group fronted by Jim Morrison.

#147: Alice Cooper
iTunes stats: 58 plays
Previous ranking: #167

The so-called Godfather of Shock Rock rises 20 spots on the chart thanks to 31 additional plays spread across 3 different tracks.

#143: Katy Perry
iTunes stats: 59 plays
Previous ranking: #108

Despite adding 2 new tracks to my collection, although 2 tracks which never made it to my phone, the pop singer suffers a 35 spot drop after adding a mere 17 new listens spread across 3 songs.

#143: Cher
Continue reading →

By The Numbers – 66

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #66.  11 players have donned #66 while playing in Chicago, 9 for the White Sox and 2 for the Cubs.

Gerry Staley spent parts of 6 seasons with the White Sox, from 1956 until a June 1961 trade sent him to the A’s.  Over that time, he wore 4 different numbers, one of which was #66. His best season was 1959, as he led the league with 67 appearances and 15 saves, earning a single MVP vote as the White Sox won the pennant and went to the World Series for the first time in 40 years.

Rafael Dolis wore #66 in his one appearance for the 2011 Cubs, throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings.  He switched to #48 for 2012 and 2013, then disappeared from the major leagues before popping back up in 2020 with the Blue Jays.