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Baseball Playoffs 2017

Well they begin on Tuesday night with the American League Wild Card Game but all the teams are set and most of the matchups have been made. In the AL we’ve got Cleveland, Houston, Boston, New York and Minnesota while in the NL there are Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, Arizona and Colorado. This year has some interesting things that can happen in both leagues we know for sure that the NLDS will have a rematch of two NL West teams as the Dodgers will face either the Diamondbacks or Rockies in one there is also a chance that in the AL the same thing could happen with the Indians possibly playing the Twins rivals in the AL Central.

The Twins became the first team to make the playoffs after losing 100 game in the previous season.  It is a pretty unique group of teams as so many have wait for so long to win a World Series with only the Yankees, Red Sox and Cub winning in the past decade.

In the Wild Card games we’ve got the Twins and Yankees playing for the right to battle the Indians in the American League while the Diamondback and Rockies see who is going to travel to LA for a couple of games.  It would be cool if the Twins won since I think it would be a very unique series if they played Cleveland one more time this season. and because think of the storyline if they and the Nationals made it to the World Series the last team from Washington (The Senators in 1924) to win the World Series being the team the Nationals have to get over to win the World Series. In the Arizona and Colorado game they know each other fairly well and both have done well against the Dodgers this year so either team will make for an exciting series. It’s a coin toss in the NL. However this is only a one game series so anybody could win either game.

In the Division Series in the American League there are the Cleveland Indians playing either Twins or Yankees while Boston and Houston match up against each other and these two team have just seem each other facing off in the last series of the season. Over in the National League the LA Dodgers  will play either the Rockies or Diamondbacks while the Nationals and Cubs will be facing off in what most were predicting would have been last years NLCS. More on these games on Thursday.

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Blue Planet II

BBC is doing another giant film on the oceans, and it will be released later this year and hopefully by early next year in the US. The trailer for the new series is out and it look amazing.  Sure it has a newish track from Radiohead and Hans Zimmer (ocean) bloom. It is a reworking of Bloom from The King of Limbs which was according to Thom Yorke who says in the Press Release that  “‘Bloom’ was inspired by the original Blue Planet series so it’s great to be able to come full circle with the song.” This is pretty cool. BBC did the original Planet Earth and Blue Planet series which sort of ushered in the HD era and now with their respective sequels they are ushering in the 4K era. It looks like we all will be exploring the depths of the unknown

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Puerto Rico

This article from The New York Times is pretty crazy as it states that nearly half of Americans don’t know that Puerto Rico is a part of America. I thought that was something that everyone knew if we go back to West Side Story way back in 1957 where in America we hear “Nobody knows in America / Puerto Rico’s in America!”, perhaps with the lyrics change in the film version has prevented this from being as well known. This was fifty years ago and it is a still shame that so many people think it is a foreign nation, over on The Hill they are reporting that in an interview Hilary Clinton said that she isn’t sure Trump knows about the Atlantic islands that are members of the US. Sure he has made plans to visit the islands next Tuesday but that is not enough to solve any problems he has berated the island for defaulting on loans and their current debt struggle yet with the devastation that took place with Hurricane Maria it seems like this debt is just going to grow over the next decade or how ever long it takes to rebuild the island. Vox has a nice overview on all of this as well.

If Puerto Rico were a state would there have been a quicker and better response? I haven’t a clue but I know that there have been five different referendums on statehood with several of the most recent ones leaning toward statehood however the United Nations would like Puerto Rico to be it’s own nation. If you have the ability to donate your money or time to help out with the cleanup and recovery in Puerto Rico that would be the best thing that you can do right now. Sure, Texas and Florida got a telethon with all those celebrities but I hope that we can do more for Puerto Rico however that many be accomplished.

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October is for the Rosary

Over the month of October I will be taking a break from the decades of the Rosary and turn to some of the Encyclicals on the Rosary. It’s going to be Pope Leo XIII centric since he has written the most on the Rosary. October is the month of the Rosary because of the Battle of Lepanto took place in October in which the Holy League fleet defeated the vastly superior Ottoman fleet.  Pope Pius V urged praying the Rosary for a victory in this battle. Since the Christian fleet defeated the Ottoman fleet the day of the battle became the feast to Our Lady of Victory, this feast has been renamed to honor Our Lady of the Rosary. This is why the month of October is dedicated to the Rosary.

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The Vietnam War

The newest Ken Burn documentary film about The Vietnam War is a deep dive into the Vietnam War the often forgotten war since it was one that America lost. Now, I was born in the middle of the 80s and in school we glossed over it as the focus was World War II since that’s the big War then it would sort of peter out in the 60s with JFK assassination and early LBJ with Civil Rights. So the closest I’ve come to this War was the films and shows that take place in it. The first was the television show The Wonder Years set during the Vietnam War on the home front. As for films it was either Good Morning, Vietnam with Robin Williams as the radio DJ on Armed Forces Radio Service or Operation Dumbo Drop the Disney movie from 1995 about a group of soldiers bringing an elephant to a village inspired by true life events. All of these were comedies-dramas so that about all I knew about it for year. I’ve gone on to the other well known gritty films Platoon, The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now over the the years. It wasn’t until college that I actually did any work with The Vietnam War when in a class on the 1960s where we read A Rumor of War, Phillip Caputo’s memoir on Vietnam.

I’ve been watching The Vietnam War and learning a whole bunch of things that I didn’t know about Vietnam so I’ve decided to reread  A Rumor of War more on that later. This should be a series that everyone needs to takes the time to watch as it explains a lot about how society got to be the way it is today. Burns and Novick tell to story from all sides involved it’s wonderful so far

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Fall TV preview 2017

Alright as we begin the Fall Television schedule it is time once again to look at the new shows that will be airing this year. I’m going to do it by network.

ABC:
Sunday at 10pm is Ten Day in the Valley: it’s a cop show about a lady who writes/works on a cop show dealing with her missing daughter. I will be skipping this one.
Monday at 10pm is The Good Doctor: seems like a cross between House and Rain Man as it’s a young surgeon who is an autistic savant and that’s the basic plot I guess him and everyone dealing with him. Another skip in my book.
Tuesday at 9:30pm is The Mayor: about a young rapper who runs for Mayor of his town as a publicity stunt and gets elected. He’s got different ideas of what need to be down for him town. I will be checking out a couple of these episodes. At 10 pm is Kevin (Probably) Saves the World: in which a slacker (Kevin) is contacted by an Angel and tasked with saving the world. Doubt I will check it out.
Friday at 9pm is Inhumans: from all I’ve heard about it don’t waste any time watching this Marvel series.

CBS:
Sunday at 9pm is Wisdom of the Crowd: this seems very similar to APB but it adds social networking to make everyone a member of the police. Not the most promising show. This upcoming Sunday at around 8:30pm Star Trek: Discovery debuts. I’ll be watching this first episode.
Monday at 8:30pm is another stinker of a show 9JKL: an out of work actor returns home to New York to live between his parents and his brother and his family. Don’t watch. at 9:30 comes Me, Myself & I: it’s a story about Alex Riley in three parts at age 14, 40 and 65 not sure if the stories will be connected but I will be watching.
Wednesday at 9pm is SEAL Team: Not sure if this will be mostly be set in the field or at home or a combination of both. It might be good but I’m going to have to watch an episode at least.
Thursday once again begins with football for the first half a the fall before turning to sitcoms. When sitcoms return at 8:30pm Young Sheldon: If you like Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory you are bound to watch it. At 10pm is SWAT based on the television series from the 70s and the film from 2003 and is about a SWAT team. Most likely I’ll be passing on this one as well.

The CW:
Monday at 9pm is Valor: CW joins the fold with a military drama hurrah?! now there is one on every network
Wednesday at 9pm is Dynasty: the 80s soap is rebooted, didn’t watch the first so why start now.

FOX:
Sunday at 8:30pm is Ghosted: it is a comedy X-files so I will watch at least a couple episodes.
Monday at 9pm is The Gifted: set in the X-Men universe and I’m a fan of it so I’ll check it out.
Thursday at 9pm is The Orville: Seth MacFarlane’s pseudo-Star Trek show, it’s not that bad but I doubt I will be making time for it.

NBC:
Monday at 10pm is The Brave: a new CIA/military drama, not my cup of tea.
Tuesday at 10pm is Law and Order True Crime: this is about the Menendez brothers who killed their parents. no thanks.

So what will I be watching out of all shows this is just a possible list as with the new show it could become less.
Sunday: 60 Minutes, Simpsons, Ghosted or Football
Monday: Me, Myself & I or The Gifted
Tuesday: The Middle, The Flash, The Mayor, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Wednesday: Maybe Riverdale just to check out Sabrina the Teen-aged Witch is coming
Thursday: The Good Place, Arrow and/or Football

 

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Hurricanes, Islands and Charity

Over the past couple of week in the US there have been two huge hurricanes that have hit the mainland and there is another one that perhaps might hit soon. Sure there has been lots of talk about how generous people have been with the people in Houston and Florida but there is next to no talk about the effects that weather has had on the islands in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico and all those other islands are about to be hit again by a powerful Category 5 storm but we haven’t heard of anything about them and Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States along with our other islands the US Virgin Islands, how have they been dealing with the weather.

We should be showing more concern for those guys on the islands I mean I read somewhere that they basically evacuated the entire island of Barbuda since most infrastructure was destroyed. Sure it is nice to hear about how nice we can be to our own neighbors in different states by donating to the Red Cross or wherever but there are other places that need help as well. If you aren’t taxed from donating to those in Texas and Florida perhaps think about giving some to those in the Islands as well.

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The Crucifixion

The final sorrowful mystery is the Crucifixion and death of Our Lord. The fruit of this mystery is Perseverance in faith, grace for a holy death and Forgiveness. This story is found in all the Gospels and if you can’t find it it’s rather easy and throughout the epistles it is mentioned as well. We are all well aware of this story or you could check out the film mother! if you need a refresher (please don’t). Jesus is crucified between two thieves one berates him to “He helped other but can’t save himself” the other asks “Don’t you fear God, for we are all suffering the same fate although we have been fairly judges for the crimes we’ve done this man (Jesus) did nothing.” He continues to Jesus saying “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replies “Today you will be with me in paradise.” This is what is so special about our faith not matter when or where if you but ask it shall be given unto you. Forgiveness is a huge topic and even Pope Francis talked about it this past Sunday’s Angelus (17 Sept) where he said “Forgiveness does not deny the injustice one has been subjected to, but it acknowledges the fact that the human being, created in the image of God, is always superior to the wrong that is committed.” This is what we need to keep in mind for even in the Our Father we say “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” the second part is the important one.

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CBS Streaming (Star Trek)

I am sure you all are aware of a new Star Trek show coming out soon. It’s called Star Trek: Discovery and the first episode will be aired on CBS next Sunday after football. However after that they want you to subscribe to their streaming service CBS All Access to watch the rest of the season. The Hollywood Reporter asks the big question Can CBS change the game with the show? This is a bit of a complicated question as there will be no early reviews of the new Star Trek and I’ve heard/read that many people will either wait until the whole thing comes out and get the free trial to watch the show or hope that it get on some other streaming location after the first season airs, as Netflix owns the streaming rights for the rest of the Star Trek shows so hopefully it would land there eventually. Sure with Hulu earning the first Emmy win for Best Drama as “a non-network” streaming service it is a good time to get into the market but perhaps going alone might be a setback for CBS. Although it seems likely that Disney/ABC will have their own successful streaming service in the near future will we eventually have to pay to watch just about anything in the near future and abandon broadcast television, I mean I use it to watch sports, Jeopardy, news, a talk show or two and a maybe a handful of shows some of which are on PBS to begin with. Eventually, I hope that there are only like four streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney) and that’s it. Who really knows what’s going to happen over the next decade with streaming and television in general.

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Shakespeare’s Greatest Characters

The Telegraph offers a list of the 25 greatest Shakespeare characters and it is a rather interesting list. On this list there aren’t many of the brand-name characters like a Romeo, Juliet or a Hamlet and several are from lesser known plays like Comedy of Errors and Two Gentlemen of Verona.  The run the gambit as well some are heroes other villains others are bit parts. Their list is as follows with my comments after each.

Rosalind (As You Like It): Greatest female characters by Shakespeare? I haven’t read or seen.
Prince Hal (Henry IV/V): This is reason to watch/read the Henriad. Prince Hal is the one character who changes the most from when we first meet him.
Richard II: Not that brilliant of a King and he goes mad what’s not to like about that.
Emilia (Othello): Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s maid servant is one of the most complex characters.
Malvolio (Twelfth Night): The puritanical steward of Olivia who is the butt of the jokes and torments. The greatest tragic character in the comedies.
The Witches (Macbeth): Everyone likes the witches and they’ve been just about everywhere.
Hotspur (Henry IV, part 1): The romantic of the history plays he seems like the better Henry compared to Hal but when it comes to a fight it doesn’t end well.
Viola (Twelfth Night): Sebastian’s twin sister who spends most of the time as Cesario, the most strong willed of Shakespeare’s women.
Shylock (The Merchant of Venice): A difficult character as it really depends on how you want to look at him how to interpret him monster, victim, clown?
Lady Macbeth (Macbeth): We all know she’s one of the most memorable female ever written.
Autolycus (The Winter’s Tale): Never seen or read this one either so I don’t know
Nurse (Romeo & Juliet): She’s the best mother character we see
Falstaff (Henry IV/Merry Wives of Windsor): Perhaps the greatest character in all of Shakespeare to have a drink with. He is my favorite.
Regan and Goneril (King Lear): The bad sisters in this wonderful family drama
Cassius (Julius Caesar): sets the assassination plot a foot and is sort of an early Iago-like character
Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing): Wittiest of all the characters Shakespeare wrote
Tybalt (Romeo & Juliet): This guy really?
Drunken Porter (Macbeth): The strangest item on the list as I don’t even remember him at all
King Lear: “Everest” of acting roles this medieval/modern role that we sort of are living with today.
Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse (Comedy of Errors): Never seen/read before
Lance (Two Gentlemen of Verona): Never seen or read not a clue here
Timon (of Athens):  starts rich goes poor, wants to see cities crumble
Mercutio (R+J): The fun loving, mercurial character who everyone likes the Riff to Romeo’s Tony.
Jaques (As You Like It): He’s got the All the World’s a stage speech
Richard III (Henry IV/Richard III): He’s got to be here the brilliant anti-hero before they were popular

So I need to read/see As Your Like It, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Winter’s Tale, and Comedy of Errors. It’s a fun list and I enjoy that it isn’t the same old Hamlet, Puck, Juliet and Romeo. Shakespeare wrote a lot of characters so it’s nice to see some who would slip your mind on a list.