Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Grille Gives Me Pause

In the run-up to tonight's Loan Sharks softball game against Ron's Auto, I ran a Name that Car contest. As team members checked in with to let us know whether or not they were coming to the game, they could take a crack at identifying the above car.

Scoring: 5 points each for make, model, year, and standard engine size.

The correct answer: Ford Ranchero GT, 1978, 351 V8.

Here are the guesses:

Mike L: Buick, El Dorado, 1983, 375 V-8: 0 points.
Mike lost it here when he matched Buick and El Dorado. The El Dorado, in addition to being a mythical city of gold, is of course a Cadillac model. In any case, this isn't even a General Motors car.

Alan F: Ranchero GT, 1972, 350 V8: 5 points for the Ranchero GT.
Mike L argued that it was "harsh" to not give Alan credit for missing the engine size by only one measly cubic centimeter. But ask yourself: If the Ford Motor Company of America thought that a 350 was the ideal size engine for this particular car, don't you think they would have put in a 350? I think we can all agree that when it comes to such finely-tuned machines as late 1970s Fords, a single cubic centimeter can make all the difference. And, if Alan had only mentioned "Ford" in his answer... However, Alan does get an honorable mention for penning the memorable, Shakespearean almost, phrase in his response, as in: "The grill gives me pause, but I would say it's a..."

Eric J: Chevy, El Camino, 1969, 354 V-8: Good guess, unlike Mike L, Eric correctly matched the model with the make, but 0 points.

Mike W: "a nasty El Camino type:" Negative 5 points for calling an El Camino "nasty."

Mize J: "The front definitely has Ford written all over it:" Mize gets 5 points for knowing his makes by front end styling.
He would have done well in my dad's favorite car-trip game of "who can identify the most cars traveling in the opposite direction on the other side of the interstate?"

Maria M: Grand Torino, 1973: 4 points for helping Alan come up with the correct model.

So, the final results are:

Alan F: 5 points
Mize J: 5 points
Maria M: 4 points
Eric J: 0 points
Mike L: 0 points
Mike W: -5 points

Blue Hills

Received the following email from Jake yesterday:

Drove myself down to the Blue Hills this morning for a quick recon and hi-speed birding assault on one of the eponymous hills. Left the house at 5:30. Birded for about an hour, saw/heard lots of species that I can't find in JP now, post migration. (Prairie Warbler, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Red-eyed Vireo, Hermit Thrush, Eastern Towhee were the highlights.)

I think I will try this again, possibly tomorrow, and certainly at least a few more times in July. Would love to have some company if you are up for it. A truly wonderful experience: nobody around, can't hear cars, all you can see is trees and the rising sun thru the haze. Lichen and moss covered rocks (including some really cool, weird shaped lichens), blueberries ripening, all about four miles from Mattapan. It was hard to find the birds I was hearing, but I didn't care.

Was just cool to walk on the rocks and on the trails and feel like I was in the woods. Besides the hills there are also trails around ponds and freshwater marshes, and a source tells me there's Pileated Woodpecker (which sounds a lot like WoodyWoodpecker) and Barred Owl (which make the famous and extremely spooky "who cooks for you all" call) in there.

Excellent. I'm there. Jake picked me up at 5:30 in the a.m. and we drove the few miles to the Blue Hills Reservation south of Boston. It was as he described, a beautiful spot. Gray skies, the eastern horizon over Massachusetts Bay was orange. The top of the hill we were on must be pretty darn windy, as the vegetation is sparse and scrubby. But that means lots of grasses and tough little herbs.

Once again, while Jake went after birds I found myself scanning the northeast horizon for aircraft arriving into or departing from Logan. Saw a couple of jets land on runway 27 over Winthrop but couldn't figure out which runway they were using to take off.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Big house-cleaning accomplishment today: cleaning the stove. Several applications of "Simple Green" cleanser, followed by stainless steel cleanser. Stove now ready for surgery, should that be called for. Also did some of your basic laundry-folding.

Made a bike trip into JP Center to buy soil pH testing kits at Yumont Hardware and gas range "burner bibs" at Ace. You might have thought that in terms of stove cleanliness, we were already at a 10, but by installing the burner bibs, we gave it a little push over the edge, to 11.

For dinner Helen took care of a couple of the recipes that we bought vegetables for but didn't cook at the BBQ: corn on the cob with cheese and lime and zucchini with mint and olives. Both dishes were meant to be grilled but as we have run out of propane for the gas grill we simply boiled the corn and broiled the zucchini. Resourceful.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Tragedy of Errors

Cycled over to Brighton for an 11 am appointment with an LPN to look at my shoulder, which has been giving me problems during painting and yard work. She says: probably tendinitis, take Aleve twice a day for a week and call her if it doesn't get better. Okey-dokey.

From JP to Brighton, I took the route past Jamaica Pond, through Brookline on Cottage St., and then into Brighton on Chestnut Hill Ave. Mighty hilly route. Mighty hilly. So on the way back I took Harvard Ave. to Brookline Village and then caught the Emerald Necklace bike path through Olmsted Park. Much better.
Stopped at Jamaica Pond to see what the deal was on their sailboats. $15 an hour to rent. I'll be back.
Then to JP Center to buy Aleve. I also went into Boomerangs thrift store and bought some shirts and ties. I hardly ever wear ties, but next time I will have a new (to me) tie to wear. Kind of gives a guy a good feeling.
Back at home I cleaned off a tarpaulin that we had used at the BBQ and then got ready to go to the Red Sox - Cleveland game at Fenway. I had bought a ticket from Randy Divinski last week.
Eighty-six years of heartache: 1918 - 2004.
The World-Champion Red Sox have won seven in a row and are coming off a 6-0 road trip to Cleveland and Philadelphia. But tonight's game, the first of the homestand, was a tragedy of errors.
First three innings were scoreless, Arroyo for Boston and Millwood for Cleveland both pitching well. In the fourth, Cleveland loaded the bases with one out, but Arroyo induced a perfect double-play ball to third. Mueller fielded it cleanly and threw to second but Bellhorn took his eye off the ball and failed to make the catch. Two runs scored when Arroyo should have been out of the inning. (Earlier in the game, a young woman arrived in my row with a t-shirt reading "I'd like to do porn with Mark Bellhorn" but she and her friends were gone at the time of the Bellhorn error. As we cursed Bellhorn, the guys behind me wondered where that girl with the Bellhorn shirt was now.)
Even more tragic was the play in the seventh inning, when Cleveland's center-fielder Sizemore hit a line drive to right. Trot Nixon raced back and it looked like he had a bead on it, but it ricocheted off his glove and into the Cleveland bullpen for a two-run home run. Two batters later, Arroyo gave up a bomb to DH Haffner and that was it for him. Cleveland won the game 7-0.
I had a great seat in the left field grandstand, section 32 (the no-alcohol family section), just below the foul pole that Carleton Fisk famously hit in game six of the 1975 World Series. In front of me was a mom with her two girls at their first Red Sox game. Another guy -- the mom's boyfriend, I think -- was also there with them. I had brought my binoculars so I offered them to the boyfriend so that he could give them to the girls. They were thrilled to be able to get an up-close look at Johnny Damon and I felt pretty satisfied with myself, that I had helped enhance the key first-major-league-baseball-game experience of these two kids.
The view from my seat in section 32.
But then in the fifth inning, the mom leaned back to me and said, "Hey, how you doing? I left my ID in the car. If I gave you some money, would you go buy me a beer?"
For some reason the boyfriend was unable to perform this task.
"Well, this is the no-alcohol section," I replied, hoping that would settle it. But no.
"That's okay, I can stand over there and drink it."
Wow, I thought. Here you are with your two kids at their very first Red Sox game, you've got your replica Red Sox jersey on, and your top priority is going over to the aisle so you can suck down a cup of overpriced light beer.
But all I said was, "No, sorry. I don't want to leave my seat, I might miss part of the game."
Later, while the mom and the girls went to go get some ice cream and souvenirs, it was all I could do to resist saying to the boyfriend, "Leave now, while you have the chance!"
David "Big Papi" Ortiz at the bat.

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