Derek Jeter tops Hall of Fame ballot

Larry Walker’s 10th and final year on the ballot

pettite posada jeter rivera
SP Andy Pettite, C Jorge Posada, SS Derek Jeter, RP Mariano Rivera
The article “Derek Jeter headlines 2020 Hall of Fame ballot” asks a question. Will the legendary Yankee shortstop and captain get in unanimously in his first year of eligibility? His former teammate, reliever Mariano Rivera did so the year before.

Jeter should. His stats are better than almost anyone else’s on the list. To boot, he and Rivera both played in Albany County before landing in the big leagues.

Barry Bonds (59.1% of the ballots last year) and Roger Clemens (59.5%) are both on the ballot for the eighth time. If I could vote, I’d pick them too, for reasons explained last year. Receiving 75% of the sportswriters’ votes is required for induction.

Curt Schilling (60.9%) is also on the ballot for time #8. It’s not the taint of steroids but his quite terrible politics, specifically “his xenophobic, transphobic and conspiratorial memes.” I’d bump him if there were lots of other candidates of a similar caliber, but there aren’t.

A pair of Rockies

Larry Walker (54.9%) is on the ballot for the 10th and final time. He suffered because he played in Colorado, where people believe his stats were inflated by the thin air. Put him in, and stop yanking him around!

Todd Helton (16.9%, 2nd year) Five-time All-Star. I think he also suffers from having played with the Colorado Rockies.

Andy Petitte (9.9%, 2nd year) holds all-time postseason records for wins, innings pitched and games started. He too was a member of the Albany-Colonie Yankees in the early 1990s.

Jeff Kent (18.1%, 7th year) – why does he get overlooked? He “snuck up on the baseball world as a Hall of Fame-caliber player… Kent was an average player at best for five seasons in the major leagues before blossoming into a star in San Francisco.”

Omar Vizquel (42.8%, 3rd year) was a defensive wiz who occasionally also hit well.

I suspect that Jeter, Walker, and maybe Schilling will get in.

Actor Bill Nighy turns 70

Love Actually

Bill NighyAlthough I’ve seen relatively few films featuring the British character actor Bill Nighy. I’ve enjoyed most of them, or at least him, quite a bit. The Bookshop (2017) my wife liked more than I, but we both loved him.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2010) was delightful. The sequel, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015) was a lesser effort.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) was overstuffed with storyline. After seeing Notes on a Scandal (2006), my wife said she felt as though she needed a shower afterward, and I understood what she meant.

Love Actually

But my favorite Bill Nighy film is the first one of his I saw, Love Actually (2003). I could come up with descriptions, but why do that when Jaquandor has done it for me.

“I wouldn’t be so enchanted with Love Actually if the movie wasn’t so wickedly funny. There isn’t a scene with Billy Mack (Bill Nighy), the aging rocker, that doesn’t leave me grinning at the very least… I’d love to see a biopic of aged, battered old rocker Billy Mack, who late in the movie admits that his life, though lonely, has been a wonderful life.”

Jaquandor also speaks to the other attributes of the film. “Few movies seem as full of real people, to me, as Love Actually. That’s a testament, really, not just to the writing, but the entire production, because the movie by its nature has to rely on its actors and editors to make the whole thing really come to life.

“Since each story in the movie is basically told in miniature, each cast member is put in the position of having to knock each scene out of the park. Luckily for the movie, they accomplish this.”

He quotes the late Roger Ebert: “I once had ballpoints printed up with the message, No good movie is too long. No bad movie is short enough. ‘Love Actually’ is too long. But don’t let that stop you.” [Emphasis added.]

In fact, I haven’t seen the film in quite a while. I should remedy that.

The term “OK Boomer” is okay by me

generational conflict

OK BoomerWhen my daughter said to me recently, “You’re pretty cool for a boomer,” I didn’t really know what to do with that. Little did I know that I would subsequently be inundated with articles about the term “OK Boomer.” Ken Levine wrote about, as did Amy Biancolli and several others.

But I needed to understand the genesis of it all. Fortunately, I came across a warm and fuzzy piece in VOX entitled, “‘OK boomer’ isn’t just about the past. It’s about our apocalyptic future.” There you go. The subtitle: “It’s not really about age — and it’s more complicated than just memes.”

Of course, there have long been generational conflicts. In the intro to the song I Got Life, from the musical Hair:

[Claude, spoken] This is 1968 dearies, not 1948
[Parents individually, spoken] What the hell you got 1968 that makes you so damn superior?
And gives me such a headache?

But this feels different. As the story notes, “Because of the cultural and political moment we’re in, the stakes feel much more fraught and high-risk than other generational clashes…” Generation Z, I should note, is comprised roughly of those born between 1996 and 2015, though this is fluid. Baby boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964, usually.


“A song by Peter Kuli & Jedwill entitled ‘OK BOOMER!’… became a popular song choice for TikTok sing-along videos this fall… The verses define boomers as racist, fascist Trump supporters with bad hair… Teens on the platform used the song’s intro and chorus as a rebuttal to annoying run-ins they’d had with seniors policing or judging their behavior…

“OK boomer is meant to be cutting and dismissive. It suggests that the conversation around the anxieties and concerns of younger generations has become so exhausting and unproductive that the younger generations are collectively over it.” As a boomer with a Gen Z daughter – the gift of being an old parent – I very much worry about their future. And I’m afraid we flower children were much less successful in creating the change we desired than we would have liked.

As the New York Times noted this fall, “Gen Z has finally snapped over climate change and financial inequality.” Sidebar: I’ve never used the term “participation trophy” pejoratively. But I do like to eat cereal.

“In the end, the debate around OK boomer might be another iteration of the endless parade of internet-fueled ideological debates in which neither side is listening to the other. For frustrated millennials and teens, OK boomer is an emotionally valid response to boomer condescension, but to frustrated baby boomers, it sounds insolent and disrespectful.”

Now that I understand the genesis, it clarifies things. It never bothered me; I just didn’t “get” it before. Heck, I might use it unironically on some of my fellow sexagenarians when they get all “Kids these days.”

4 W’s, from coast to almost coast

The 2006 Olin International Reunion was in Kennewick, WA

stamps texas to wyoming
WA Washington, a US state in the Northwest, historically abbreviated Wash. It’s often referred to a Washington state, to delineate it from the national capital on the other side of the country. Capital: Olympia. Largest city: Seattle.

The 2006 Olin International Reunion was in August in Kennewick, the eastern part of the state. My wife and I briefly considered going, but with a two-year-old, who wailed on an hour-long car ride, we decided a transcontinental flight at that time was not in our plans.

WI Wisconsin, a state in the Midwest US, historically abbreviated Wisc. Capital: Madison. Largest city: Milwaukee, a city I associate with beer. The TV sitcom show Laverne & Shirley was based there.

The major sports franchise in the smallest city metropolis is the Green Bay Packers, which won the first two Super Bowl NFL championship games.

The one time I was in Wisconsin was 1988. I was working for FantaCo, the comic book store/publisher. I was accompanying Mario Bruni to the Capital City Distributors trade show in Madison. We were there to promote some Mars Attacks cards which Mario had designed and FantaCo was publishing. This was in a period before Diamond had become the only player in the comic book direct market.

Madison was a beautiful city, located on a couple of lakes. It seemed like a place I could live if ever I were to move.

Mountain State

WV West Virginia, a state in the Appalachian region of the southern US, sometimes abbreviated W. Va. Capital and largest city: Charleston.

I always had an odd affection for the state, which broke off from Virginia during the Civil War, and joined the Union in 1863. As a kid in Binghamton, I could pick up the country music powerhouse WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia late at night. The station apparently abandoned the format in favor of talk radio in 1997.

When my family used to drive from Albany, NY to Charlotte, NC, where my parents lived, we’d almost always stay in Martinsburg, West Virginia, which was about halfway. We had been there enough times to identify the restaurants and hotels, practically from memory.

WY Wyoming, a state in the US Rocky Mountains, sometimes abbreviated Wyo. Capital and largest city: Cheyenne.

Although the state is the 10th largest by area, it is the least populous state in the country, with fewer than 600,000 people. It’s also the second most sparsely populated state, behind Alaska.

Thus ends our run of the 50 US states, and related geographies.

The who, what, when, where, why of ABC Wednesday

It’s a Wonderful Life RADIO THEATRE

A peculiar coincidence

X-CR IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE PRE-PUB 2019Capital Repertory Theatre in downtown Albany is presenting something called It’s a Wonderful Life: Live from WVL Radio Theatre from November 22 to December 22.

The description reads: “Meet George Bailey and all the residents of Bedford Falls as you’ve never seen—or heard— them before! Based on the classic Frank Capra film, this story comes to life as a live, 1940s radio broadcast. Five actors give voice to all the memorable Bedford Falls characters, accompanied by sound effects and music created live on stage.”

As part of my subscription to Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady, I picked this show. But my wife wanted to go, and my daughter agreed to. We couldn’t get three seats together, so I sat with my daughter.

But the house was only half packed. On December 1, a winter storm was predicted. As we left church around 1 pm, there was a crew from The Weather Channel setting up at the entrance of Washington Park at State Street and Henry Johnson Boulevard. It seemed peculiar then since only a few flakes had fallen.

It was one of those peculiar coincidences. The premise of the play was that most of the cast of the radio theatre was snowed in while out of town. The sound effects guy decided that the show must go on, and recruited the station manager’s daughter, and two actors still in the area, to do all of the parts.

This included performing the commercials for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, Pepsodent toothpaste and Chiquita bananas. Not only do I remember the ads, but I also have the clips on a CD.

Have you seen the movie?

One’s enjoyment, I suppose, depended partly on one’s knowledge of the source material. My daughter has never seen the film about how Angel Second Class Clarence attempts to earn his wings. My wife, who turned me onto the movie, had some difficulty keeping track of all the minor characters the four actors played. It worked rather well for me.

incidentally, my wife sat next to the mother of the young woman who played the station manager’s daughter. The mom flew in from Seattle. She and my wife had a lovely chat about the life of a traveling performer.

Then we drove home, very slowly. State Street hill was mighty treacherous to climb. A car was spinning its wheels by the state Capitol at Hawk and Washington. It is possible that a couple red lights were, um, ignored.

Nippertown: “It’s a Wonderful Life: Live From the WVL Radio Theatre” Brings Christmas to Capital Repertory Theatre.