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Why I Love Baseball, Part Infinity May 29, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Baseball.
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On the right, for my Yankees, is Aaron Judge, at six feet eight inches.

Standing next to him on the left is Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, at five feet six inches.

The tall guy on the right won Rookie of the Year last year, and came in second for Most Valuable Player.

The little guy on the left won Most Valuable Player.

Altuve’s amazing, and I cringe every time he comes to the plate against my team and kicks ass.  But guys like him make the game great.  It’s all about skills. It’s why a little annoying shit like me could play baseball, back before I got old and feeble and my liver fell out when I got up this morning.

Tonight, the Yankees struck out a whopping 17 times, made a pathetic 2018-leading FIVE errors in the same game, and yet still managed to mount a 9th and 10th inning comeback against the reigning World Champ Astros and win 6-5. Two rookies got two big hits in the bottom of the 10th with 2 out. The set up double came from 23 year old Miguel Andujar. The winning RBI came from 21 year old Gleyber Torres.



Gotta go put my liver back. It’s time for a drink.


Right Next To The Dog Faced Boy May 28, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in 1960s, Television.
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It might be the 23rd century, thousands of light years from Earth, but I love that Kirk packs his things in a clunky American Tourister model, circa 1966.

I knew they were tough when gorillas bashed them around, but who knew they’d last the centuries?

Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m a smartass Trek nerd. Maybe I should have been a mechanic. Then I could treat little tin Gods like you…

Here’s director Ralph Senensky on the episode I’m talkin’ ’bout…

It’s also one of my favorite closing scenes, and lines, of any of the series. Senensky directed nearly all the episodes where Spock (or Nimoy) got to show emotion, too. They both handled it well.

We’ve Updated Our Privacy Policy May 26, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in General.
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Old policy:

New Policy:

You’ve been warned.

Khan Is Tired Of Your Shit May 25, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in 1960s, Television.
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You TASK him….

Face it, you’re screwed. He’s got five times your strength, can quote Milton and Melville, and also has this little bastard in the wings waiting for you.

Ugh…. just drop them off on Ceti Alpha 5 and wait for its orbit to shift. Then, fuck ’em. You’ve got bigger things to think about, you know?

Sky Bar On Life Support May 23, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Food.
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The New England Confectionary Company, maker of those unique chalky NECCO wafer candies, has been bought at a federal bankruptcy auction by Spangler, a candy company based in Ohio.

I’m sure they bought it up to get the NECCO wafers and similarly formulated Valentine’s heart candies with the little messages on ’em, but the company also made other stuff whose future is unsure… such as Clark Bars and one of my absolute favorites.. Sky Bars.

While the wafers can be found in Southern California, the Sky Bars are few and far between, only available in specialty nostalgia-style candy shops like Rocket Fizz and the like, and they usually run north of a buck and half a bar. Oy.

The Sky Bar is a milk chocolate bar stuffed with 4 flavors that turn up randomly – peanut, vanilla, caramel and fudge. Part of the fun is the surprise by biting into each section.

Right up there with Crunchy Frog.

One time they did a promo with one of the abominable sparkly vampire Twilight films, with dark chocolate Sky Bars wrapped in “Twilight” themed wrappers…. and like other leftover promo candy, they wound up at the local 99 cent store in large quantities…


I really did – stocked my ‘fridge with maybe two dozen of the damn things at 3 for a buck after recognizing them as Sky Bars in a different wrapper.

Alas, those days (and hopefully that added weight on my belly) are gone.

I hope Spangler keeps making the Sky Bars, or at least sells the brand & recipe to someone who will. It’s my favorite candy bar, along with one that’ll NEVER go away, Three Musketeers (yeah, I know… candy snobs find that one boring,  but I admire its simplicity) and a foreign entry, the Ferrara Chocolate Torrone bar I’ll get at a local Italian deli every so often for upwards of TWO DOLLARS!

But it’s SO damn good.

Please, Sky Bar… don’t leave me.

Baseball Card Of The Day, Cranky Old Man Edition – 1968 Bob Gibson May 20, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Baseball, Baseball Cards.
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Gibson had arguably the greatest single season performance of any pitcher in the modern era in 1968 – a record of 22-9, with 268 Ks in 304 innings…. along with a phenomenal 28 complete games and a seemingly impossible ERA of 1.12.

But look at these amazing stats that log every game of his in ’68 and zero in on June and July – he pitched FIVE complete game shutouts in a row during a stretch where he won ELEVEN straight complete games, EIGHT of them  shutouts.

His shortest start all year was his first – where he went 7 innings.

And now consider baseball in 2018 – the era of pitch counts, 7th inning left handed batter ground ball specialists, having five different guys come out of the bullpen to pitch the last three innings and other such SABERMETRIC BULLSHIT, and then hark back to the days when REAL MEN LIKE BOB GIBSON went out on a regular basis and dominated the living shit out of hitters who included Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Pete Rose and the rest.

Gibson’s iron manliness was the rule and not the exception, either. Those 28 complete games were NOT the league lead – Juan Marichal pitched 30 of ’em for the Giants. Gibson’s World Series opponent Denny McLain would also have 28 complete games for his amazing 31-6 record. Gibson would beat him twice in that series, but would get bested by Mickey Lolich in the end after a bad 7th inning.

Last year, Corey Kluber led the majors with 5 complete games, total.

Gibson did that in a row, in a month, all shutouts.

Kluber is no slouch, either, I’ve watched him beat my Yankees enough times. Cy Young winner, the whole bit. But Gibson intimidated the living crap out of batters. He was notorious for brushback pitches, yet did not hit many batters. He just made you think he did. His scowl and aura from the mound made it look like he didn’t just want to get you out, he wanted to KILL you and have your entire family watching in the stands die of heart attacks. You’d be thankful after all he did was strike you out.

We live in times of too much overthinking and finesse. And you kids better stay off my lawn.

And stay off Bob Gibson’s lawn too, he looks like he wants to kill you.


A Decent Haul May 19, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Books.
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Today’s gleanings from a big annual library sale I make a point of hitting every year.

Not too bad… two books on Hollywood. One all about government files on various Hollywood personalities (the cover blurb on Lou Costello’s giant porn collection made it an instant into-the-box decision), and another “Cut!” which is basically the encyclopedia of celebrity death and murder. Now THAT’S entertainment.

Also a very extensive academic study of the origins of bible stories, which seems more a candidate for looking up a particular bible episode and reading about it rather than a cover-to-cover read.

Frank Kermode’s “Shakespeare’s Language,” another one to add to my never-ending Shakespeare kick, this one analyzing how the language evolved & changed from Titus Andronicus to The Tempest.

Also what looks like a very interesting book on Victorian-era forensic science applied to Sherlock Holmes stories, or the real-life history behind the inspirational material for The Murdoch Mysteries, I guess.

Another book on technical analysis trading to add to my shelf load – and much like my filtering for adding cookbooks (since I already have too many of those, too), I skimmed through parts of it and what she has to say about specific trading indicators and signals looked intriguing enough to spend A WHOLE DOLLAR on it.

An old book on how to approach publishers and agents, something I’m planning on making another go at after getting the next two books out there by year’s end. I’m sick of doing all my own marketing and publicity and the like. It’s very exhausting. And while I’ve read and am cynical about much of the how-to-get-published material out there, this guy’s in-your-face attitude and advice seems like it would be worth looking at, since much of what he’s talking about really hasn’t changed in the publishing biz since he put this book out over 30 (eek!) years ago. His advice on the psychology of pitch & sell looked totally applicable to today.

And finally, rounding things out (pun intended), Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat. I never read this one, only read summaries of Taubes’ theories online, and since his principles helped me drop some weight and keep it off while not sacrificing my gourmet inclinations, I figured it’d be worth a read.

The next big book sale & safari comes up in about a month. <Cut to Rocky-esque training montage…>


In Less Complicated Times, We Found The Answers More Easily May 17, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in General.
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A Quick Preakness Post for 2018 May 17, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Horse Racing.
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I don’t think I’ll be betting this race very big.

The favorite and likely winner Justify is currently at 1-3 on the morning line, the likely runner up Good Magic is 3-1, and the only big-odds horse that has some potential to money in this thing beyond show might be Lone Sailor, at 15-1.

Between those odds and the small field, the exotics won’t really be worth it. Maybe a couple of bucks on something, but not much more.

I’ll save my bankroll for the Belmont. If Justify can take this one and stir up a lot of excitement for a Triple Crown, AND face some high-odds ringer horse who runs the Belmont without running this or the Kentucky Derby, we may have the ingredients for tempting trifecta and superfecta combos.

Finlaggen Single Malt Scotch Review May 11, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Cooking, Food, General.
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I’m not too sure why I like single malt scotches and have never really liked any of the blended varieties I’ve sampled. Maybe because I can actually pick out flavors in the singles that overcome the harshness of the alcohol. But I’ve even had some single malts that only rated a “meh” in my eyes, and I pegged them as not really being worth adding to the rotation.

Well, after the plug it got in the Trader Joe’s fearless flyer that lands in my mailbox every few months, I got curious about Finlaggen single malt. I read a few reviews on whiskey review sites, and it seemed to be on par with other stuff I’ve liked in the past, like good ol’ Glenlivet, always my reference point for single malt scotch since it was the first one I ever tried, way back in college.

I figured nineteen bucks wasn’t too much to risk to try it, and I gotta say… I think I like it BETTER than Glenlivet. It feels “thinner” on the palate than the bourbons & ryes I’ve had, less syrupy I guess. But what really got me was the nice smokiness of the taste & finish.

A good scotch ought to evoke the smokiness of a nice peaty fire, right? I should picture myself sitting with Groundskeeper Willie in front of one, passing the bottle and trying to keep warm while we await Robert the Bruce to lead us into battle the following dawn against that inbred Longshanks bastard.

And he was played by Patrick McGoohan!

Anyway, this stuff leaves a wonderful smoky finish on the palate, akin to, well…. some really good smoked whitefish. I really can’t describe it any other way, but what began as the sting of alcohol on my tongue ended as the aroma of wonderful smoked fish. And as off-putting as that might sound, it really was wonderful.

I’d sip this stuff straight, and I’ll definitely enjoy it blended with water or seltzer.

AND it was only nineteen bucks at TJs, relatively cheap for a single malt, and certainly a good buy for a solid scotch.

So thumbs up!