Category Archives: LA Angels

New Growth

Not that I thought that anyone was lying awake nights worrying about my stressed and leaf-dropping ficus trees, but when I went out into the back yard with the mighty mighty dog beast today, I found all of the trees in question to be popping out with new leaves and sprouts!

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I know that this is a new development because I remember checking yesterday to see if anything was happening and I saw absolutely nothing new, which was disappointing.

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Today, however, probably a third of the barren branches have at least a handful of new leaves sprouting. Perhaps the trees noticed me checking yesterday and figured it was time to put it in gear.

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They also seem to be sprouting right out of the primary trunks as well, so I’m guessing new branches? I didn’t think these things could get bushier, but considering how little I know about them (and what I’m doing here), the odds are good that I’m wrong about that as well.

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Hooray, the trees aren’t dead!


I just hope they haven’t been talking to the philodendrons (pothos plants?) out on the front porch. (Which I still haven’t killed, despite my best efforts.)

On a day when my favorite baseball team comes up one game short in getting to the playoffs (pitchers and catchers report to Tempe Diablo when?) and my favorite NFL team, which had been a favorite to win their division, dropped to 1-4 and can’t do anything right to save their lives, having non-dead trees is a big deal!

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Filed under Castle Willett, KC Chiefs, LA Angels, Photography, Sports

Odds & Sods For Monday, August 31st

Item The First: This is odd:

Site Stats

Normally this site percolates along with a handful of hits per hour. It’s not bad, but it’s not going to get any buyouts from Google or Medium any time soon. Three weeks ago there was a spike where it went up to 31 views in one hour, which I think was a record for WLTSTF. I may know what and/or who caused that one.

Then last week there was a one-hour long spike up to 47 views in an hour. No clue.

And today this. Again, no clue as to who or what.

Note, this is not a bad thing. I put this out there in order for it to be read and shared after all. But it just is odd that it’s happening and I’m curious. I’m also hoping that it’s a “good odd” as opposed to a “disastrous odd.” Since I’m pretty sure I know what the first one was, I’m also pretty sure (not certain) that it was a good thing and got good (if limited) results. I can hope for the best.

Cryptic? It’s that “elephant” thing again.

Item The Second: Good thing that football season is about to start and hockey training camps are about to open. I guess I’ll just have to live with the Chiefs taking the Super Bowl and the Kings winning the Stanley Cup this year. It doesn’t look like the Angels are going to even make the playoffs, let alone win the World Series.

Item The Third: I mentioned back at the end of April how great that month had been. The road has gotten decidedly rockier since then. This isn’t to say that there haven’t been some great things in the last four months (New Horizons, Vermont, our airshow, and so on) but there have definitely been some significant disappointments and issues to go along with them.

All in all, August? Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, okay? September? You and I need to talk and set some boundaries and goals, right here and now.

Item The Fourth: Tomorrow night (US time) there will be another crew going to ISS on a Russian Soyuz. Launch time for the “Expedition 45/Visiting Crew” TMA-18M is scheduled for 00:37 Thursday morning EDT, which will be 21:37 Wednesday night PDT. As usual, you can watch live on NASA-TV or on your computer using any of the free apps that bring NASA-TV over your internet connection.

For a few days the ISS crew will be back up to nine, before dropping back to its usual six. Remember the good old days when the Shuttle was flying and we routinely had thirteen up there for a couple weeks at a time?

Item The Fifth: Finally, there will be a full lunar eclipse on the night of September 28th (evening of September 27th in the US). Here in LA and on the US West Coast we’ll only see partial phases, but this eclipse will be perfectly positioned for all of Western Europe, Western Africa, the US east of the Mississippi River, and 100% of South America. I’m sure I’ll be reminding you of it later and giving more exact times, but if you want to see it, now’s a good time to stick it on your calendar.


Filed under Astronomy, KC Chiefs, LA Angels, LA Kings, Odds & Sods, Space, Sports, Writing

At The Ballgame Again

Talk amongst yourselves, both Daughters are in town & we’re at the Angels game tonight.


Yes, I am a fashion nightmare.

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Filed under Family, LA Angels, Sports

Baseball Tense(ion)

Listening to the Angels game on the radio this afternoon, I heard something that sounded like incorrect grammar, but it took me a while to figure out why it sounded wrong. I’m still not 100% sure that it was wrong.

The phrase in question was something like, “Back in the third inning, Jones pinched hit for Smith.”

OK, “pinched” is the past tense for “pinch,” as in “Now I’m going to pinch you” as opposed to “Yesterday she pinched me.”

At the same time, “hit” is the same for both present and past tense, as in “Come on, hit it!” as opposed to “It was great the way she hit it.”

But in this case, “pinch” in “pinch hit” isn’t a verb, it’s a adverb, a modifier of the verb “hit.” So shouldn’t the past tense of “pinch hit” be “pinch hit”?

A Google search brings up no definitive answer, but does offer some interesting avenues for a wild goose chase off into a classic Web surfing session. A Bing search brings up no definitive answer, but does make you wonder why in hell you bothered to waste time using Bing.

Asking Siri is useless, but entertaining if you waste time trying to figure out if you can ask a question that will get her upset enough to stop talking to you. So far, no joy.

I’m going to go with my gut on this one. “Pinched hit” – nice try, but wrong. “Pinch hit” – gets my vote as correct.

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Filed under LA Angels, Paul, Sports

UCI Night – Zot! Zot! Zot!

It’s UC Irvine night at Anaheim Stadium.

As loyal alums, we are of course here with our fellow Anteaters.

Zot! Zot! Zot!!


Filed under Family, LA Angels

Foul Ball

The topic of conversation in the household tonight is a question of character of sorts. Perhaps not quite of the caliber of the Kobiashi Maru test, but a question we’re more likely to face than a Romulan ambush.

If we’re at a baseball game, in particular a major league game, and we catch a foul ball or a home run ball hit into the stands, only to look down and see a doe-eyed seven- or eight-year-old — do you keep the ball or give it to the kid?

We’re assuming you didn’t run over the kid and knock him or her out of the way in your scramble to get the ball. Do that and you’re an asshole — you not only need to give the kid the ball, you also need to buy them ice cream and cotton candy as well. And maybe a foam finger.

We’re assuming it’s a major league game, not a minor league, college, or high school game. First of all, if it’s a high school game they’ll probably ask for the ball back so they can keep using it. Budget cuts, don’t you know! And if it’s a college or minor league game, well, it’s just a college or minor league game. Make the kid’s day.

We’re assuming that you don’t have season seats in a location where you get about a dozen of these a year and it’s more of a nuisance than a moment you’ll remember the rest of your life.

We’re assuming it’s not someone’s first career home run (they’ll want the ball and they’ll give you beaucoup swag for it) or someone’s 800th career home run or 80th home run in the season (you’ll get $100,000+ for it on EBay). Maybe not even the walk-off, game winning home run. Just a home run. Or even a foul ball.

We’re assuming that you’re not the person who steps in and grabs a ball being tossed into the stands by a player or ball boy (or ball girl) when the tosser obviously is tossing it to a kid intended to be the tossee. Do that and you’re a ginormous asshole who needs to hand over the ball, ice cream, cotton candy, foam finger, hat, mini-bat, and then get your butt tossed out of the stadium.

We’re assuming the kid isn’t there with a t-shirt or sign that says something like, “I have cancer and a week to live and this is the first (and only) ballgame I’ve ever been to.” (That t-shirt is one heck of a game changer.)

No, it’s a clean catch, you’re at Anaheim or Wrigley or Fenway, you either brought your glove (honestly, do not even get me started on people who think grown men are silly or stupid for bringing a glove to a game) or your hands are stinging, they might be putting the replay on the scoreboard, it’s the first time you’ve ever gotten a real major league baseball — and here’s this kid, not your kid, a total stranger, and they want you, as the adult, to give the ball to them, the kid, as a present.

Do you keep the ball or give it to the kid?

{Insert Final Jeopardy music here}

{Do you have your answer?}

{Are you ready to defend it?}

{Yeah, I’m stalling for space to try to move the answer down off the bottom of the screen.}

Consensus here is that, given all of the assumptions, you keep the ball.

I’m old, I’m going to be dying sooner than the kid, they have their whole life in front of them, I’ve been trying to get a real, official, game-played, major league ball for well over fifty years, and damn it, I caught it fair and square!

The kid has years to go to keep trying to get their own ball, plus they have cute going for them, so they can still try to convince someone else to give them a ball. That’s an unfair advantage, since the cute ship sailed a long time ago for me.

In addition, kids are coddled too much today. They might think that it’s not fair that some mean, booger-brain adult (i.e., me) won’t give them the ball, but hey, kid, here’s a clue – life’s not fair. Is it fair for me to not have gotten a ball in all those decades with all of the games I’ve been at?

So there, it’s settled.

Until the little voice in my brain asks, “What if it’s a major league game, but just a spring training game?”

Stupid little voice in my brain.

Fine, let the kid have it.



Filed under Farce, LA Angels, Sports

Nibbled To Death By Ducks

And not the “good” kind from Anaheim, and by “good” I mean that they’ll be a roadbump on the way to the Stanley Cup for my beloved LA Kings…

No, some days it’s like trying to put ten pounds of pickles into a five-pound pickle bag. (I really wish I knew where I had learned that phrase, it’s so useful and descriptive!) Today was two or three of those days.

Tomorrow will be another day. No one died or even got seriously injured here. There was just a full share of busy, frustration, harried, discouraged at times, and the desire to attack certain problems with a chain saw instead of a coping saw.

But surviving it does mean that we’re another day closer to opening day! How can the opening of baseball season not cheer you up?

There were three launches today (Florida, Russia, Japan) off of this rock, so that’s excellent. Wouldn’t it be great if the industry got to the point where there were three launches (or more) every day?

When I was a kid my brothers and sisters (and they were legion) would tease me by calling me “Pauly-anna.” (Guess what movie was shown about twice a year in living color on the “Wonderful World Of Disney” show? I learned to hate the move because of that, but had, and still have, the hots for Hayley Mills.) Tonight a little Pollyanna attitude might be a good thing.

The dog’s got to go out. Again. Another duck calls.

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Filed under LA Angels, LA Kings

My Funeral

First of all, I’m fine. I’m not dying, at least, not any more than the rest of us. I didn’t get any recent news of a tumor, blocked artery, or astronomically high blood pressure, nor do I know of a bullet or a bus with my name on it.

I am not superstitious (or “stupidstitious”) about it being Friday The 13th. Today’s date means nothing other than tomorrow is “Pi Day Of The Century“! Which also means nothing, since the calendar and our measurement of time is about 90% arbitrary, but it’s a great excuse to be goofy and have pie. Mmmmm, pie…

But this song came up in my playlist the other day (see #16) and my brain got to spinning off onto a dozen tangents, as it is occasionally wont to do. (Silly brain.) So, given greater and lesser amounts of seriousness, to be updated periodically as I change my mind or come up with other goofy crap to do, here are some suggestions/requests/orders (you don’t want to be haunted, do you?) for my eventual funeral:

  1. Please do not call it a funeral. “Memorial service,” “life celebration,” whatever the politically correct term of the week is, but not “funeral.” Although as you’ll see, I want the “fun” put back in “funeral!”
  2. Someone take a LOT of pictures. I would do it, but, you know, “dead” and all that.
  3. If at all possible, start the event just before sunset, outdoors, under a clear sky.
  4. Wearing a suit and tie or fancy dress will be frowned upon, unless of course some serious (and entertaining) gender-bending is going on. Depending on the weather, if you must wear “normal” clothes, Hawaiian shirts for summer or turtlenecks for winter are okay.
  5. Extra points: Wear Hawaiian shirts with airplanes on them.
  6. Beaucoup extra points: Wear turtlenecks with airplanes on them.
  7. All things being equal, people should be encouraged to wear costumes — fannish friends might consider bringing extras for the mundane factions of my family and friends.
  8. If not into fannish costumes, mundane costumes will do. Angels, Chiefs, or Kings jerseys and/or hats are all acceptable. Their rivals’ gear will, obviously, not be acceptable.
  9. Extra points: Anyone wearing a combination of Angels, Chiefs, and Kings gear will be recognized for their creativity and given a seat of honor for the event as a reward.
  10. Beaucoup extra points: Have the Angels’ World Series trophy, the Chiefs’ Lombardi Trophy, or the Stanley Cup there for people to take selfies with.
  11. Have a flyover. My pals at the CAF will do a great job.
  12. Extra points: Get the Blue Angels or Air Force Thunderbirds instead of the CAF.
  13. Beaucoup extra points: Get the Blue Angels, and the Air Force Thunderbirds, in addition to the CAF.
  14. Everyone’s invited. (Yes, that means you too!)
  15. God’s invited (s/he’s included in “everyone”) but it’s my party, not God’s, so let’s not make any deities the Guest of Honor, ok? Either I’ll be some mythical afterlife actually talking to some deity or another (my mother’s bet) or I simply won’t (my bet). Either way, I’ll know and you won’t. (Wait, if I’m…then I won’t… Never mind.)
  16. Play “Into The West” from Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King, the one sung by Annie Lennox. I absolutely love that song and have wanted it played at my funeral memorial service ever since I first heard it.
  17. Extra points: Get Annie Lennox to sing it live with a full orchestra.
  18. Beaucoup extra points: Get Annie Lennox to sing it live with a full orchestra and Amanda Palmer!
  19. Tell jokes, tell stories, tell more jokes. I’ve done plenty of stupid things, let’s relive them in all their glory.
  20. Share my photographs, and keep sharing them for years and years beyond. They’re a big part of the proof that I was here.
  21. If I’ve managed to get any of my stories published, read some choice selections. If I didn’t break through, pick a couple of my less sucky Flash Fiction efforts to fill time until it gets dark.
  22. As it gets dark, keep the lights off (or at least to a minimum, or hand out flashlights with red lenses) so that everyone can get dark adapted.
  23. Bring out the telescopes and spend the evening (all night if you want!) with everyone taking turns looking through them at the planets, stars, nebulae, comets, moon…
  24. Whatever the venue, sing. Sing filksongs, but use the broad definition of the term (“Anything I’ve ever heard sung at a filksing”) so that things like “A Dying Cub’s Fan Last Request” are included (yeah, gotta sing that one!), and don’t limit it to just filksongs. If it feels good, sing it!
  25. With luck I will have had organs donated, so let people know what went where. I want any usable spare parts of mine used to help others when I’m no longer in need of them, and others should be encouraged to do the same. Have forms there for people to sign up for blood and platelet donations, as well as become organ donors.
  26. Serve chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, chocolate cake, ice cream, apple pie… None of this vegy plate and health food crap – life’s too short, as I will have obviously just demonstrated.
  27. Alternative idea #1: If it’s cloudy or you can’t find a dark sky location, or if it’s just later in the evening and you’re “telescoped out”, light up as many Christmas lights as you can (make it visible from space!) and then follow up with a massive fireworks display.
  28. Alternative idea #2: Have all of the above (or as much as practical) at a ball game. Angels, Chiefs, or Kings doesn’t matter. Can you just imagine a group of my family members, my CAF friends, my fannish friends, and other assorted knuckleheads taking up a whole section at an Angels game on a Big Bang Friday and partying all night?
  29. No flowers. Just because I’ll be dead doesn’t mean that we need to spend a money killing a bunch of innocent flora, most of which are probably allergens to someone in attendance. Instead, take the money you might have spent on flowers and donate it to a worthy charity. The CAF. Habitat For Humanity. UNICEF. Pick a group that’s going to deliver the biggest bang for your buck and help the most people.
  30. In other words, if you wish to donate in my memory, please pick a good, efficient charity, by which I mean one that isn’t going to piss away huge chunks of the donations on six-figure CEO salaries. Education is a huge area of interest, so maybe a group that puts disadvantaged kids through college, or just helps them get through high school. Or maybe a group that educates girls and young women in societies where they’re considered property. (You get the idea – if in doubt, read a few of my rants to see what pissed me off, then give to the group I would consider “the good guys.”)
  31. Hug The Long-Suffering Wife and my kids for me, early and often. As much as I might want this to be a silly & fun party instead of a somber & serious funeral, they might have have a tougher time than I will playing their parts.
  32. Have fun!!

I’ll see you there! (Wait, I forgot…)

Actually, by the time I plan on going, we’ll be doing all of this just to say goodbye to the meat-sack part of me. The all-important “me” part of me will be uploaded into a computer or robot and I’ll be there partying right along with you.

Beaucoup BEAUCOUP Extra Points: Upload “me” into the computer of a Goliath-class starship scout vessel, load the party and all of my friends and family on board, and let’s party on (or at least, near) all nine planets! (Yes, Pluto too.) Drop off those who want to stay back on Earth, then the rest of us will head outbound at some large multiple of c.

Yeah, that’s the best plan of all.

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Filed under Astronomy, CAF, Christmas Lights, Family, Fandom, Fireworks, Flying, Habitat For Humanity, KC Chiefs, LA Angels, LA Kings, Music, Paul, Photography, Sports, Writing

Fireworks For Kansas City

I grew up in Kansas City, among other places, but KC was where I went to grade school. The A’s were my team, and I’ve never been able to forgive them for moving to Oakland. The Chiefs are still my team.

Now I’ve been in SoCal for over four decades and the Angels are now my baseball team. But I can relate to the baseball fans of KC, passionate about their “new” team (the Royals started playing in 1969) and suffering through decades of mediocrity. The Royals won the World Series in 1985 after being perennial contenders for several years; since they, they’ve been lousy.

Yesterday my beloved Chiefs were on Monday Night Football and CRUSHED the New England Patriots, who were heavy favorites. Tonight the Royals beat the A’s in a one-game wildcard play-in game. It was an epic game, extra innings, blown leads, heart-stopping comebacks, a walk-off victory.

Next the Royals play my beloved Angels and they’ve got a lot of momentum coming in, obviously. It’s going to be be a great series, and I will feel bad when the Royals lose and the Angels go on to win the World Series. (Against the Washington Nationals, in six games…) But at least their fans can take joy in getting this far, the next step for their franchise on their way to their eventual second World Series championship.

It’s been a fantastic forty-eight hours for sports fans in Kansas City. For my brothers and sisters in spirit, here are some fireworks to celebrate!

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Filed under Fireworks, KC Chiefs, LA Angels, Photography, Sports

Tweaks & MNF

I’ve made a couple of tweaks to the site today, which you may notice in the sidebar over on the right side of the screen. “Latest Tweets” inserted, other stuff moved around and re-sized. Let me know if you like, dislike, or have problems with the updated layout.

Tonight I’ll be a bit busy with a certain midwestern NFL team playing a certain New England NFL team in Monday Night Football. I wrote last year about my one and only visit to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and posted several pictures from that trip in 2006. It will be an exciting 48 hours in KC, with the Chiefs at home in a premier, nationally broadcast game tonight, and the Royals next door at Kaufmann Stadium tomorrow night with a wildcard playoff game, their first appearance in the postseason in 29 years.

One picture that I didn’t use from that day because it was “blurry” actually fits in quite nicely with some pictures I’ve posted recently (here, here, and here), so here it is. Go Chiefs! Go Royals! (Even though the Royals will then get crushed by my beloved Angels in the next round.)

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Filed under Family, KC Chiefs, LA Angels, Paul, Photography, Travel