Tuesday, October 3, 2017

MLB 2017: Peerless Postseason Prognostications

It's simple. I want to see the Nats win a World Series. Is that too much to ask?

I think not! 

As the NL East Division Champs, the Washington Nationals have a legitimate shot at going all the way this year. Here is what the playoff bracket looks like on Day One:

Below is my fearless prediction, posted on the first night of post-season play.

I'll come back and grade my guesses after each milestone. May the best team win!

Play ball! 

Go, Nats!

One Pursuit!

Update after both Wild Card games: on track for a Nats World Series Championship! #OnePursuit!

Update after the Division Championships--and the total collapse of my bracket. The Nats will have to watch the World Series again this year. Go, GO, 'STROS!

UPDATE after the Stros win to force GAME 7 in the ALCS.

Even though my Nats are out and the callous owners somehow saw fit to let Dusty Baker go (WHAT!?), I still have a shot at 50% on my bracket. I predict the Astros will defeat the Yankees tonight (Oct 21, 2017) and then go on to topple the Dodgers in the World Series.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Souvenirs from the 2017 Maryland Lighthouse Challenge

Mission accomplished!

In an earlier post, I mentioned our planned exploration of Chesapeake Bay lighthouses during the 2017 Maryland Lighthouse Challenge. I'm writing to say, 

"We made it! We have seen the lights!"

We visited 12 lights in 36 hours. We rode 540 miles to visit lighthouses from the northern tip of the Chesapeake Bay in Havre de Grace to the southernmost tip of Maryland at Point Lookout, and from Baltimore's Inner Harbor across the Bay Bridge to Cambridge. 

In addition to crossing the Bay, we traversed tributaries including the Potomac, Patapsco, Severn, Choptank, and South Rivers. That is a lot of bridges, but bridges are the subject of a different post!

A map showing the twelve lights we visited around the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries

By participating in the challenge, we earned a special prize at each stop we made during the two-day tour. The prize was a colorful coaster imprinted with a photo of the subject lighthouse.

We received a coaster as a souvenir at each stop. The top coaster commemorates the 2017 Challenge.
The second row contains coasters from the first three stops

Coasters from stops 4 through 9

Coasters from stops 10 through 12 plus the "Finishers" coaster at the bottom.

Do you like lighthouses? Have you ever just gone on a two-wheel tour of lighthouses around the Bay? We signed up for the challenge and I am glad we did! I highly recommend it!

The challenge is a fundraiser for the US Lighthouse Society to help pay for upkeep of the lighthouses. For more information, please visit the USLHS website here: http://uslhs.org/

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Lights of the 2017 Maryland Lighthouse Challenge

My proposed route for the Maryland Lighthouse Challenge

“I’ve seen the lights!”

The U.S. Lighthouse Society's Chesapeake Chapter presents:

2017 Maryland Lighthouse Challenge

The highly anticipated 11th Maryland Lighthouse Challenge will be held on Saturday and Sunday, September 16 and 17, 2017. An early bird date of Friday, September 15 offers additional, "unofficial" lighthouse appreciation activities on Maryland’s eastern shore.

Complimentary souvenirs will be given at each Challenge location. You are welcome to visit any number of lighthouses along the Challenge route, but you will have to visit all mandatory stops to be able to proclaim “I’ve seen the lights!” and collect a specially designed souvenir to mark your accomplishment.

The lineup of "Mandatory Lights" around the clockwise route includes these 10:
1. Concord Point, Havre de Grace
2. Seven Foot Knoll, Baltimore Inner Harbor, Pier 5
3. Lightship Chesapeake, Baltimore Inner Harbor, Pier 3
4. Hooper Strait, St. Michael's
5. Choptank River Replica, Cambridge
6. Cove Point, Lusby
7. Drum Point, Solomons
8. Piney Point Lighthouse, Piney Point
9. Point Lookout, Lexington Park
10. Fort Washington Lighthouse, Fort Washington

Bonus Lights include:
• Millers Island Lighthouse at Sparrow’s Point (between Concord Point and Inner Harbor)
• Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse at Annapolis (in Annapolis near the Bay Bridge)
• Blackistone Lighthouse Replica at Colton’s Point (between Point Lookout and Fort Washington)

Visiting these three bonus lighthouses is not counted toward event completion, but will take Challengers to three more beautiful Bay locations, earning them extra event souvenirs!

I'm excited to combine my passions for boating and two-wheeled travel on an early fall weekend. Toss in an overnight in lovely Annapolis, and this trip has the makings of a memorable treat. My plan is to meet the challenge in two days.

  • Day One: ride from Alexandria to Concord Point, then bypass the optional Millers Island light in the interest of time, hit the two in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, then cross the Bay Bridge to Hooper and Choptank, then head back across the Bay Bridge to end the day in Annapolis. Option: visit Sandy Point Shoal if time allows.
  • Day Two: Head south to complete the challenge in a clockwise manner, Cove, Drum, Piney, Point Lookout, optional stop at Blackistone, then on to Fort Washington before crossing the Wilson Bridge on I-495 back to Alexandria.
Just under 500 miles over 2 days, to see 10 to 12 lights, collect souvenirs, and earn bragging rights.

The Maryland Lighthouse Challenge…
Making Maryland memories–one lighthouse at a time!

Contact: Challenge Coordinator, Karen Rosage, (410) 437-0741, challenge@cheslights.org. Accessed Sep 3, 2017 from http://cheslights.org/maryland-lighthouse-challenge/.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

"My Aim is True" Turns 40

22 July 1977 to 22 July 2017

"It was rather like recording in a telephone booth. Overdubs were barely an option. Everything is heard pretty much as it was played."

--Elvis Costello, via Twitter on July 22nd

L.I.N.K.S. (XVI): MAIT Turns 40

In this edition of L.I.N.K.S. (hyperlinks that Lure, Intrigue, Nurture, Kindle, or Stimulate), we focus on the 40th anniversary of the release of "My Aim Is True," Elvis Costello's debut album.

"Recorded in four six-hour late-night sessions in a London eight-track studio, My Aim Is True was the debut album by the audaciously named soon-to-be 22-year-old singer-songwriter Elvis Costello, née Declan Patrick McManus. Produced by Nick Lowe, former bassist for the pub-rock band Brinsley Schwarz and a labelmate on the cheeky upstart indie Stiff Records, it reportedly cost a mere £2,000 to make, and was released in the U.K. on July 22, 1977."

My favorite links:

1. Paste features Elvis saying he’s actually not angry as angrily as humanly possible

2. Billboard does the impossible and ranks the album's tracks

3. Trunkworthy pays homage to a track that didn't make the album

4. Treblezine focuses on the artist's professed motives of revenge and guilt

And finally,

5. Spill takes the story to a personal level, drawing from the recent Costello autobiography

“I’ve always told people that I wrote ‘Alison’ after seeing a beautiful checkout girl at the local supermarket,” writes Costello in Unfaithful Music on perhaps the most well-known song on My Aim is True; after all the album takes its name from a line in the song

“Now she was punching in the prices on cans of beans at a cash register and looking as if all the hopes and dreams of her youth were draining away. All that would be left would soon be squandered to a ruffian who told her convenient lies and trapped her still further.”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Word of the Day #2: Ultracrepidarian

By © Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar, CC BY-SA 3.0,

1. The Word of the Day is



2. Ultracrepidarian is defined as:

adjective: Giving opinions beyond one's area of expertise.

noun: One who gives opinions beyond one's area of expertise.

From Latin ultra (beyond) + crepidarius (shoemaker), from crepida (sandal).
The meaning of this word comes from a story in antiquity, in which the famed Greek painter Apelles one day heard a cobbler criticizing the way he, Apelles, had rendered a foot in a painting. Apelles then said that when it comes to feet, the shoemaker "shouldn’t render an opinion beyond the sole," or similar words to that same devastating effect.  Zing!

3. The reason I looked up today's word is:

There are times when we need a word, the perfect word, to describe and disarm a person who gets on our very last nerve.

"I dream of a world where we can sort out our differences by calling someone names instead of pulling out a gun and shooting." --Anu Garg

4. For more information:

Shockingly precise insults: https://wordsmith.org/words/ultracrepidarian.html

Keep trying!

A close friend of mine recently shared the following observation.

Just re-watched the movie Ratatouille yesterday with the kiddos and was struck again at how profound this quote at the end is (from the food critic Anton Ego) and wanted to share it:

Anton Ego, voiced by Peter O'Toole in the Pixar movie, Ratatouille

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so."

Even if one is not familiar with the Oscar-winning movie, the droll and dreary character's comment strikes a certain nerve. In this scene, Anto Ego realizes that his power comes from passing judgement (often harshly) on the creative efforts of others. I believe he has something of an epiphany: 

Not everyone can be great, 
but greatness can come from anyone.   

Keep trying! The world is full of critics, and let's just agree that critics have their place in the world. But who are the critics, really, without the creators? Ask yourself this: do we need more critics, or more creators? 

When you go to a restaurant, a play, a concert, or a movie, you are a consumer. As a consumer, you should feel free to form your own opinion about the performance. There is no accounting for taste, so if you don't like the expensive wine, don't buy it.  

But what really matters in this world is not what you consume, nor what you or others think about the offered goods. What matters is what you produce! What are you good at doing? What can you offer? And here is where I must say, "Don't pay attention to the critics!" Pay attention to what you are here to do: Create. Produce. Add value. 

You will only hear the voices of critics if you are actually doing something. You will only get complaints if you are making a difference. Strive for the adulation of critics and the loyalty of customers, and learn from the reactions, good and bad. At the end of the day, the world needs more producers than consumers.  

Keep trying! 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

That Moment When #7: Alarm Clock

That moment when your 5:30 alarm goes off and you get mad at yourself for even setting an alarm on Saturday and you go back to sleep and it's Tuesday.